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THE TIGER FACTOR
Anonymous Pro: There isn't a player on Tour who doubts that Woods will continue to dominate. He'll be as good as ever, probably better. It's going to be a long year for the other top five players in the world.
Van Sickle: So Tiger simply picks up where he left off?
Shipnuck: His record was phenomenal during the 11 months after he hurt his knee and before he had the surgery. I don't think he hit balls once after a round. It really cut into his preparation and practice time, yet he still won. He can work harder again, which is a scary thought.
Bamberger: Maybe Tiger comes back smaller and takes two miles per hour off his clubhead speed. His only real weakness is erratic driving. I could see him slowing down the driver head slightly, hitting more fairways and winning that way.
Anonymous Pro: The injury might change his swing, but if it does, it'll make it better. What caused the problem was the aggressiveness of his lower-body action. Notice at the U.S. Open that he never winced on an iron swing, only on his driver swing. If he can get his driver swing to match his iron swing, he may gain more control.
Van Sickle: When will Tiger actually return?
Shipnuck: Everyone thinks Tiger wants to play a couple of tournaments before the Masters, but I could see him showing up at Augusta for his first event. The accompanying buzz would be deafening. He'd make the statement of all statements that, Yes, I am back.
Bamberger: That's a great call. That buzz and intimidation factor would probably be worth a shot and a half a day to him.