To just about no one's surprise, Tiger Woods has been instilled as the favourite to win the Masters this year. With three victories so far in 2013 and a game that once again appears super-charged, Woods looks set to break his majors drought, which stretches back to the 2008 U.S. Open.
Here are five reasons why Woods will win.
Since getting a putting lesson from pal Steve Stricker on the practice green at Doral last month, Woods has looked deadly accurate from that 10-foot range. Remember when he would make every important putt from that range? Whatever it was that Stricker told him, it's stuck and Woods has been on a tear on the greens. He's No. 1 in Strokes Gained – Putting, the most vital of putting stats. He's also made 16 of 37 putts from 10 to 15 feet. Most important of all, he seems to believe he can make every putt.
For the first time in a long time, Woods is coming into the first major of the year without any ailments. His body seems to be as good as it can be and the Sean Foley swing that's taken hold doesn't put any stress on any his knees or back. That's allowed him to practice as much as he wants and dial everything in.
3. The Driver
Tiger is still wayward with his driver. He's ranked 145th in accuracy off the tee. That's the bad news. The good news is that you can get away with a less-than-laser tee ball at Augusta National. The rough isn't all that penal and there are a lot of holes where the driver just stays in the bag; a three-wood is more than sufficient.
The club twirls after his shots are back. So, too, is his strut. And he's No. 1 again, in case you hadn't noticed. Yes, the swagger is in full bloom. Woods is feeling good and that's showing up in his golf game. Very few players feed off confidence the way Woods does. Those impossible putts seem to drop. His iron shots seem to be guided to targets and he gets every damn break. It looks as if that mojo he lost when he broke that leg back in 2008, has returned.
5. Lindsey Vonn
There's something to be said for having a happy life off the course. You can take your mind off golf and relax. That seems to be why Woods has been smiling a lot lately. After publicly announcing his relationship with skier Vonn, Woods even posed for cheesy pictures with his new squeeze. And he'd probably love nothing better than to show her how he wins majors.
Next: Five reasons why Tiger won't win the Masters