Tiger Woods Having Finest Career Resurgence
It was a sight for sore eyes as Tiger Woods finished just a few feet short of capturing his first championship in five years. These are sore eyes either from tears of joy on the hopes of the unexpected but inspirational return of sport's biggest icon or from rubbing them in disbelief to see the shell of the once-great golfer making strides in recapturing his former glory.
The 42-year-old was largely absent in the last three years dealing with his ailing back. He had to undergo a fourth surgery and even pondered retirement. But his injury problems go back further than three years. Woods has been dealing with his injuries as early as 2008 not long after winning his last major, the 2008 US Open. He has since struggled not just to stay healthy but to avoid scandals while reinventing his game.
Woods had a brief resurgence from 2012 to 2013 where he was once again the top-ranked golfer but failed to win any major. This year might just be different as Woods is showing signs that he is a contender once more.
Fluke or Truth? Breaking Down Tiger Woods' Comeback
When even Woods himself can't believe the comeback, you know we may be witnessing something special. We won't jump the gun and crown him just yet but Woods' back, which has bothered him for the last eight years, finally appears to be fully healthy again, we have more than a glimmer of hope.
Woods underwent a spinal fusion surgery, his fourth in under three years, to remove a large portion of a degenerated disk. It was the kind of surgery that could end careers but for what Woods describes as a "miracle", he wasn't just healed but regained some of his strength and was pain-free for the first time in almost a decade.
If his back problems are truly gone, this will bolster Woods' driving, which has been his kryptonite the last few years. He'll need it most at immense grounds of Augusta.
Back injuries are the death knell to almost every athlete in professional sports. It has hampered legends from Larry Bird in the NBA to Mario Lemieux in the NHL. Woods had to readjust his swing to accommodate his back and even while doing so, managed to stay relevant and contend on several occasions.
With a healed back, Woods can resurrect his long game to complement his masterful short game. He's already ranked seventh in strokes gained this year and most importantly, one of his swings was clocked at a baffling 128.42 miles per hour. Not just an impressive swing by his standards today, but by all standards:
Woods also hit a 361-yarder at the Honda Classic and was ranked 15th in strokes gained approaching-the-green, a solid performance. This is a 42-year-old man coming from potential career-ending surgery.
But even if you take out the comeback narrative and the countless fluff articles all wishing him well, Woods is a legitimate top-ten talent in golf once more. He may not win the Masters but you can bet that he'll look mighty good out there.
Woods versus The Field: The US Masters Contenders
*Masters 2018 Odds via SportsInteraction.
Thanks to his newfound life, Woods winning the Masters isn't just wishful thinking but a possibility. He's among the favourites at +1200 to win it all but he is still behind some serious competition.
At the top, we have a three-way tie between Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Justin Thomas at +1000 apiece. McIlroy is a four-time majors champion but has yet to earn the coveted green jacket. His best finish was in 2015 when he placed 4th. He has finished in the top-10 in the last four Masters and this could finally be the year he gets the job done.
Spieth won the Masters in 2015 and was a finalist in 2014 and 2016. He is a three-time majors champion and was at one point regarded as the next big thing in golf after his astounding run in 2015 and early 2016 where he finished in the top-four in every major. Consistency will be key for Spieth who would like to forget his epic meltdown from last year's tournament.
The new kid on the block is Thomas who won the PGA Championship last summer and is the world number-two. He finished tied for 22nd in last year's tournament and like Spieth, he'll have to overcome the emotional highs and lows that comes in Augusta.
Not to be forgotten is world number-one Dustin Johnson (+1200) who has a lot to prove after missing last year's tournament due to a freak accident.
Betting On The US Masters
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Category : NFL News
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