Tiger Woods may well win the Masters Tournament and his fifth green jacket on April 14, 2013. He'll win if he can play better than usual golf in four key statistical categories in which he currently ranks No. 118 or worse on the PGA Tour.
While the No. 1 golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking hasn't won at Augusta National since 2005, he has already won three tournaments this year (Farmers Insurance Open, Cadillac Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational). He's back near the top of his game, and the only thing missing is his first major since the 2008 U.S. Open.
With a win on Sunday, Woods would return to the glory of old, demons would be exorcised and the "majors monkey" would be hurled off his back with glee.
He's slowly climbed back to golfing supremacy since his personal and professional life spiraled out of control following the infamous November 2009 car accident. Now, all he's missing is another major championship.
Make no mistake, Tiger is on his game right now. However, when competing for a major championship, a golfer has to be clicking on all cylinders. As well as the four-time Masters champ is playing this season, he is struggling statistically in four very important areas entering the 2013 Masters.
In his past eight Masters appearances dating back to 2005, only once has Woods finished worse than No. 6. Further, over the same time period, he has recorded six top-six finishes at Augusta National.
His game is good enough to compensate for shortcomings here and there. However, on a course like Augusta National against the world's very best, there simply isn't room for a great deal of error.
Let's take a look at four areas Woods has likely been focusing on ahead of the Masters.
Four Statistical Categories of Concern for Tiger
Driving Accuracy Percentage
Entering the Masters, Woods has only hit 125 of 224 possible fairways in events on the PGA Tour. Having only hit 55.8 percent of fairways from the tee in 2013, Woods ranks No. 145 right now. A wayward driver isn't exactly a good thing at Augusta National.
Tied to a poor driving accuracy percentage, Woods' rough tendency this year has been 32.04 percent (No. 133). Further, his right rough tendency has been even worse. Out of 206 possible fairways, he's landed in the right rough 46 times in 2013 (No. 178).
GIR Percentage - Fairway Bunker
In terms of greens hit in regulation from fairway bunkers, Woods has only hit 10 of 22 greens. At only 45.5 percent, he ranks No. 132 among his PGA peers this season. This is yet another area tied to driving accuracy, an area in which the world No. 1 has struggled in 2013.
Final-Round Scoring Average
While Woods ranks No. 1 in scoring average on the PGA Tour before the cut (67.88) and No. 3 in third-round scoring average (68), unbelievably he ranks No. 118 in final-round scoring average (71.75). Therein lies the problem for Tiger closing majors over the past couple of years: He simply hasn't been able to finish on Sundays.
Tiger is the world's top golfer for a reason; there's no denying his truly amazing talents. Further, he's currently the FedExCup leader in 2013 as a result of his remarkable three tour wins. Ever since posting his career-worst Masters performance in 2012 (tied for No. 40), Tiger has been itching to return to Augusta National.
As you watch the Masters in person or from your couch this week, pay close attention to some of the aforementioned areas of Tiger's game. There's no question you'll see awesome shots and memorable clips made by Woods at the year's first major, but will he finally enter the Masters with a total game?
Tiger's play in the four areas mentioned above may well determine his fate at the 2013 Masters.
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