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PGA Tour CONFIDENTIAL
Michael Bamberger
April 05, 2010
Has Tiger come back too soon? Will Augusta and Augusta National be a zoo? What are the most over- and underrated holes? And who is going to win the first major of the year?
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April 05, 2010

Pga Tour Confidential

Has Tiger come back too soon? Will Augusta and Augusta National be a zoo? What are the most over- and underrated holes? And who is going to win the first major of the year?

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Shipnuck: It's all in the police report. That's all I have to say.

Garrity: Really, how often does anybody step up? Guys like Tiger are freakish. Maybe it's an unreasonable expectation that just because Tiger is gone, the anointed Number 2 or Number 3 player will be on top of his game and win four or five times.

Bamberger: That notion of stepping up is a function of our relatively recent interest in the World Ranking, which didn't exist until 20-odd years ago. Before that, Craig Stadler won one week, Hubert Green won the next, Andy North won the week after. There were no expectations of anyone stepping up except Jack. This is simply golf returning to its old form. It's been a fun, entertaining year.

Shipnuck: In the post-Nick Faldo, pre-Tiger era, if you won twice, it was a banner season, and if you won one major it was fantastic. It made your career. Tiger has spoiled us and warped our expectations.

Van Sickle: Since Phil Mickelson hasn't been a factor and Tiger has been missing, who should be the favorite at Augusta?

Shipnuck: This is the most wide open Masters of the Tiger Woods era. There are four or five guys you can make a case for, but it's halfhearted. Ernie Els and Jim Furyk did step up for important victories and found their old putting strokes. They're potential top five players in the world when they're on, and they have a lot of high finishes at Augusta, but they don't make anybody shake in their boots. Really, there is no favorite.

Garrity: That's true if you accept that Tiger has been diminished in some way. I don't accept that. He wouldn't be playing if he didn't feel he was ready to win.

Shipnuck: Tiger has won only one of the last seven Masters. He's not the lock he was before they changed the course.

Hack: Tiger is more likely to miss the cut than he is to win. I have no idea what his head is going to be like. I don't think he knows, either. This is not coming back from his father's death or his knee. That's why I thought Phil should be favored. I was shocked when Ladbroke's installed Tiger as the favorite.

Bamberger: You're telling me that if you had to put your house on the line, you'd pick someone other than Tiger to win?

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