Whose Year Is 2006?

With Tiger sitting in 25th place after the second day of the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational—a tournament he is used to winning—an article by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Lewis becomes even more interesting.

Chris says that although Tiger has shown signs of returning to his old dominance, victories at San Diego and Doral don’t really mean a whole lot:

If Woods had strung together a bunch of such victories—let’s say, worked in another Match Play triumph or posted his first-ever win at Riviera instead of being felled by the flu—then we’d have a different kind of season on our hands. We’d already know we were in a Rampant Tiger kind of year. Indeed, a number of scribes are already hard-selling that theme. But it will take one more pre-Masters Tiger victory, at this week’s Bay Hill Invitational or next week’s Players Championship, to convince me.

Chris has some other players in mind if Tiger can’t step up to the plate: the young trio of J.B. Holmes, Bubba Watson and Camillo Villegas, for example; or David Toms, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, or Phil Mickelson. He also cites a “conceptual David Duvall,” a player (not named DD), who goes on a memorable hot streak—Geoff Ogilvy, for example.

I personally think that Tiger wins this year’s Master’s, but that others will take the other majors. Remember that six of Tiger’s ten majors are on just two courses—Augusta and St. Andrews—and the British isn’t at St. Andrews. In Woods’ previous major at Winged Foot—the 1997 PGA, he finished well back of Davis Love (Tiger won the Masters that year).



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