No doubt about it, Tiger Woods had a wild 2010. He didn’t win a golf tournament, he lost his golden boy aura, and despite his graphic text messages and infidelity, he managed to elude the villianized image that enveloped Lebron James for merely announcing that he was taking his talents to South Beach. Tiger has since built a new house, been seen at countless sporting events, and although no one noticed he would have won a golf tournament a few weeks back had it not been for a couple of miraculous putts by Graeme McDowell. Oh yea, and he topped it all of with a healthy dose of “sex rehab.” All of this leads me to wonder — What does 2011 have in store for Tiger?
Let’s start with the timing of this post; the 2011 PGA Tour season kicks off January 3-9 in Hawaii at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions (previously known as the Mercedes Championship — talk about downgrading). This is an invitation only event for tournament winners from 2010, meaning this is the first year that Tiger has not been invited in over a decade. You likely won’t even see Tiger in action until February, but I can assure you of one thing:
Now that Tiger is divorced, he’s going to do what he wants to do. And although you think that might be some potent cocktail of, well, cocktail waitresses, I can assure you that’s not Tiger’s main concern. Tiger wants to practice. Tiger wants to be the best golfer ever. And that means winning majors. End of story.
So will he succeed in 2011 or has he lost his game and his nerve? I think his loss to Graeme McDowell was telling enough — the game is in there. So you’re hearing it here and now, before the PGA Tour season begins — Tiger Woods will win at least 5 tournaments, including at least 1 major in 2011. My guess is that Tiger will win the Masters at Augusta, thus silencing his critics, completing his “comeback,” and announcing loud and clear to players on tour that things have not changed all that much.
That said, I do think that you’ll see other tour players take shots at Tiger in the media that much more. His game unchanged, I think that criticism becomes a lot easier for these guys now that Tiger’s golden boy image is deceased. As for Tiger’s response? He’ll kick their butts as usual. Trust me on this one.