Honda Classic 2013: What Tiger Must Do to Trump McIlroy

Zach Dirlam@Zach_DirlamSenior Analyst IIFebruary 27, 2013

What does Tiger Woods need to do to top Rory McIlroy this weekend?
What does Tiger Woods need to do to top Rory McIlroy this weekend?Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will enter the 2013 Honda Classic in search of redemption. McIlroy edged out Woods by two strokes in this tournament a year ago, but the latter will supplant the former on Sunday if he is able to keep the ball in play, avoid three-putts and dominate the par-fives.

Woods and McIlroy were both eliminated in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last weekend. Poor play had nothing to do with Woods' early exit, though.

The No. 2 golfer in the world did not make a single bogey and would have finished three-under par if the event had been stoke play, so Woods is not exactly limping in to this year's Honda Classic.

In fact, Woods should be rolling into Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. with a full head of confidence considering the fact he carded an impressive score of 62 in the final round of this very same tournament in 2012.

The main reason Tiger was able to finish eight shots under par in the closing round last year was because of his outstanding play on the par-fives. Woods made one birdie and two eagles on the pair of par-fives over the course of the final two rounds.

A similar performance on holes No. 3 and No. 18 should be enough to push Woods past McIlroy this weekend.

While the par-fives may hold the key to Woods going low, driving accuracy may very well be the most important facet of Tiger's game at the PGA National Golf Club. Several greens and fairways are protected by water hazards, which means penalty strokes can pile up in a hurry if Woods is spraying the ball off the tee.

A big part of Tiger's run at McIlroy in this tournament last year was his 71.4 percent driving accuracy. Woods cannot settle for anything less than that if he hopes to topple the world's No. 1 golfer come week's end.

Dodging three-putts will also be important for Tiger to take down McIlroy. Woods averaged 1.7 putts when he hit a green in regulation, which also happens to be the same number Tiger posted in his victory at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year.

The easiest way to give away strokes is three-putting and Woods will need to value every shot to beat McIlroy.

If Tiger is able to execute all three of these keys from Thursday morning through Sunday afternoon, Woods will finish ahead of McIlroy on the Honda Classic leaderboard. 


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