Masters preview: Tiger Woods name on everyone’s minds
Maybe you’ve heard — Tiger Woods is on a hot streak and ready to roll over everyone en route to his fifth green jacket and 15th overall major.
Woods is the overwhelming favorite to win thanks to a two-tournament winning streak entering this weekend. He won at the Cadillac Championship on March 10 and the Arnold Palmer Invitational March 25.
He hasn’t played this well entering the first major of the season since 2008 when he also won three tournaments prior to the Masters. It’s probably worth noting that is also the last year, pre-knee surgery and pre-infidelity scandal, he won a major (U.S. Open).
Woods cracked jokes and looked decidedly less dour in Tuesday’s pre-tournament press conference — more like the man not burdened by injury and paparazzi.
“I think it’s just a balance, a balance in life,” Woods told reporters. “I think that’s what you’re seeing.”
He famously went public with his relationship with Olympic skier Lindsay Vonn last month, an unprecedented move for the usually secretive golfer. Maybe she is part of the reason for his “balance.”
But it’s a different word than balance which often defined Woods during his height: fear. Some of that was lost in 2009 when Y.E. Yang stared him down, head-to-head, in the final round of the PGA Championship and watched Woods crumble.
The fear has returned, and straight from the top of the leaderboard.
“You’re always worried about him making that big run the way he’s always done throughout his career,” four-time major champion Phil Mickelson told reporters.
“He’s got 14 majors. I’ve got two,” defending PGA Player of the Year Rory McIlroy told reporters Tuesday. “If I saw myself a rival to Tiger, I wouldn’t really be doing him much justice.”
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.