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Miller on Woods: Feast or Famine
By Torleif Sorenson on 12/31/13
NBC Sports lead golf analyst Johnny Miller says that the major championship venues in 2014 "set up" well for Tiger Woods, but that everything hinges on his performance at the Masters Tournament. The other men's professional major venues in 2014 are Pinehurst #2, Royal Liverpool (Hoylake), and PGA-owned Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky.

During an NBC Sports / Golf Channel media conference call, Miller explained his opinion:
"The Masters signals a lot for Tiger. If he doesn't win the Masters, I think he gets a great big 'Oh-oh.' That place is so perfect for him.

What he does at Augusta is really important. If he were to win at Augusta, I'd almost bet you he'll win another major this year. But if he doesn't win at Augusta, I think the odds of him winning one are not that great."
Indeed momentum against Tiger has played a key role in recent events. Miller cited Zach Johnson's performance at Tiger's Northwestern Mutual World Challenge a few weeks ago. The 2007 Masters champ roared back from four shots down to get into a playoff, then stunned Woods in a playoff. Said Miller,
"Tiger’s not closing out the deal, and guys aren't scared, like what Zach Johnson did at Sherwood. Before, guys just wouldn't do that against Tiger. So, it's getting much harder for Tiger. Guys aren't wilting. He's got a double whammy in that he's not able to close as well as he used to, and guys are more heroic against him, where they never were before. So, it's really much, much harder for him."
To this point, Tiger has captured 14 professional majors, compared to Jack Nicklaus's 18 majors. Woods's last major victory came in 2008 in an epic playoff against Rocco Mediate — on a torn ACL, no less. But since then... well, you know the rest of the story.

Momentum can be a rather elusive intangible. Early on in his career, Tiger was able to create momentum to a jaw-dropping degree. But at this point in time, momentum seems to have turned against him.

Will 2014 be a bellwether year for Tiger Woods?


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