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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[ comments ]
GolfSmith7 says:
The 15th major will prove to be the hardest I believe. If Tiger should win the Masters this upcoming year he'll win the other 3 in 2-3 years. Its about getting over that hump. At this point its more mental then physical.
slimpks1850 says:
Can't stand miller...
SweetJazz says:
I really don't care what golf analyst's say or predict. Jack Nicklaus' opinion has more weight than anybody's and he still thinks Tiger can beat his record. Whether you like it or not, Tiger is still the dominant player on tour. Major championships too unpredictable with today's talent pool. Just look at how many different players have won majors since the US Open in 2008.
joe jones says:
If my Grandmother had wheels she would be a baby carraige.
If Tiger wins the masters Johnny will say see. If he wins two or more Johnny will say Gee he did better than I had hoped.
If Tiger doesn't win any Johnny will say see I told you so.
Why do commentators always leave themselves an out. Make a firm prediction and stand by it.
windowsurfer says:
I get Johnny's logic tho. Tiger has many good vibes @ Augusta and it could get him thru the Majors plateau he is on. The linch pin that will unlock him, for majors. I am interested to see how TW will do at Chambers Bay in 2015. The course is a 7 mile hike and there are numerous big, steep downhill traverses - hard work for a bad knee. (9 tee box to 10 tee is almost 100' drop.) But he has lots of links experience and that will serve him well there.
SpaceMaNy0 says:
I second slimpks
mmontisano says:
Tiger is still tied with Jack in their respective timelines, so everyone just needs to relax. This subject is tired and doesn't need to be brought up anymore until Tiger wins a major.
SpaceMaNy0 says:
hahaha good mmon
have you seen golf media lately?
windowsurfer says:
@mmon: I think it's interesting. Tiger's 2006 results at Hoylake make it easy to speculate that he could be back with vengeance. That disciplined one-driver-all-week performance in dry conditions was something special; it would be thrilling to see that again, with a pack of hounds in white belts nipping at his heels.
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