Dueling columns: Tiger Woods’ prospects at Masters

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    Golf’s superstar will succeed in bid for fifth green jacket

    The greatest athlete of our generation will take to the course today at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. And make no doubt about it, Tiger Woods is going to win the 73rd Masters Tournament this weekend.

    Tiger’s battle back from major knee surgery has been well documented. He returned to golf amongst unprecedented fanfare Feb. 26 at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona. His bid for a triumphant, victorious return fell short that weekend as he fell in the second round of match play.

    But just two tournaments later, Tiger was back on top of the golf world. He eclipsed a five-stroke deficit in dramatic fashion on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks ago to claim his first tournament of the season.

    His birdie on the 18th hole – which won the tournament – was vintage Tiger. He knew the putt was in the second he made contact with the ball. Tiger’s roar was heard ’round the world. He was officially back. And now his competition knows it.

    His comeback was specifically designed in such a way that would allow his game to be back in top form in time for the Masters. His victory nearly two weeks ago proves that the plan is working. He is practically unbeatable when he is on top of his game.

    Throw in the fact that no one comes ready to play at a major tournament like Tiger and the likelihood that he will add another green jacket – he already has four – to his collection on Sunday is all but a lock. A fifteenth major championship will put Tiger just three away from tying Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18. He doesn’t want to waste an opportunity to climb even closer to that historic mark.

    Tiger is back, healthy and better than ever. There’s nothing his competition will be able to do to stop him from winning this weekend. As fans, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the show.

    Sports editor Michael Carroll is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Coppell.

    Woods still not healthy enough to best Augusta

    Let me be the first to break the bad news to Tiger Woods fans; the world’s best player will not win this weekend’s Masters.

    I think he will be teeing off early Sunday instead of being in the last group, which is his norm. But at least he will make the cut so the ratings won’t see too much of a hit.

    It’s great for the association that arguably the best player to ever play the game is back on the course, but I don’t think he will be putting on another green jacket Sunday.

    He is still coming off major knee surgery that should have put him on the shelf for a year, which means I don’t think he is back to major form yet.

    He can still dominate most courses, including the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla. where he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks ago, even though I don’t think he is back to 100 percent. But I think when he gets out to one of the best courses in the world, such as the Augusta National Golf Club, the site of the Masters, he may not be quite ready to tackle Amen Corner and the rest of that historic course.

    I know he has dominated it in the past, but that was when he had two good knees and not in his fourth tournament after a major surgery. And in Tiger’s absence the rest of the field is starting to catch up.

    The field is deep this weekend and as we have seen in past years, some relative unknown will surface from the field and make a play at this year’s green jacket.

    Tiger will get his 200th top-25 finish and may even earn his 153rd top-10 placing, but my bold prediction for the tournament is that the Irishman Padraig Harrington will earn his third consecutive major championship and his first green jacket.

    Billy Wessels is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Waxahachie.

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