For Tiger Woods, golf is all about the major championships. Winning them, he says, makes people remember you. This year Woods has upped the ante. Besides pursuing his long-stated goal of surpassing Jack Nicklaus's record 18 major titles, Woods has talked openly for the first time about winning the Grand Slam. That mission starts, or ends, next week at Augusta National. Here is a photographic breakdown of Tiger's swing plus charts that measure (from left) his rate of success in winning majors compared with Jack's, how many majors Woods is on pace to win if he plays to age 50 and a composite scorecard of his best and worst holes at the Masters.
Woods has won the Masters four times, tying him with Arnold Palmer for second in career victories at Augusta, two behind Nicklaus. Having won seven of his last eight starts, Woods is an overwhelming favorite to add a fifth Masters title next week. ( Ladbrokes of London lists him at even money.) Such dominance has come about because Woods has finally mastered all the elements of a swing he spent the last few years retooling. Earlier this year, during the third round of the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, also the site of the U.S. Open in June, SI photographer Robert Beck caught Woods's action from the moment he stepped onto the 2nd tee until he completed his follow-through. The images have been composed to make it look as if Tiger (left, with caddie Steve Williams) were watching himself. Woods went on to win the tournament—for the sixth time—by eight strokes, which is why, if he'd actually had an out-of-body experience, he probably would've been smiling.