Tiger Woods is now an even stronger favourite to win the US Masters in April after a comfortable win the World Golf Championship-Cadillac Championship on his latest appearance on the US PGA Tour. The Bet Enthusiast service has a strong ante post position on Phil Mickelson and Russell Henley but a continuation of his current level of form will make Woods hard to beat.
If the former world number one wins this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational for which he started a 3/1 market leader he will reclaim his position as world number one after he dropped out of the top 50 following an absence from the game due to injury and the fallout from sordid revelations about his personal life.
Despite rumours that he had offered his former wife a huge settlement to resume their relationship he is now dating a skiing champion who looks remarkably like Elin Nordegren, his former spouse. The similarity between the two women sits alongside his form in the Cadillac Championship, which mirrored Tiger at his best when he was winning major championship.
Woods has now won 76 US PGA Tour titles and only Sam Snead has won more. Based on the respective age of both players Tiger looks almost certain to surpass that total. In fact he wouldn’t have to win another tournament until 2020 and still overtake Snead.
However, Woods is focused on more than winning regular tournaments. His stated career objective ever since he won the US Masters in 1997 is to surpass Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major championships. To put that in perspective Woods will have to win five more majors. Severiano Ballesteros won that many throughout his whole career and Sir Nick Faldo won just one more.
Woods has won the US Masters four times in his career to date but the last time was in 2005. He clearly has a game ideally suited to the Augusta National course which hosts the US Masters every year. The tournament is the only major that is held on the same course from one year to the next course. That means course form is key to identifying potential winners.
It would be a great achievement if Woods could reclaim the number one spot in the world rankings. In all he has spent more than 12 years of his professional career as number one in the world but hasn’t been at the pinnacle of the game since Lee Westwood displaced him in October 2010.
In total Woods has spent 623 weeks as statistically the world’s best player. Since the upheaval in his personal life Woods has seen Westwood, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy at the head of the rankings. McIlroy reached the top after winning two majors so if Woods was number one in the world again it would be testimony to his results in regular tournaments over the last two seasons.
All strands of Wood’s personal and professional life now seem back in place and the next five years could see the player confirm his status as the best player in the history of the sport. It’s no better than even money that he wins five more majors to achieve that ambition.
Back next Friday.