Suttie: Woods can't win Masters after 5-month layoff
Tiger Woods will finish in the top 10 at the Masters, but he won't contend for the title. It would be too much for even Woods to return after a five-month layoff and play at peak form on the world's fastest greens under the most intense pressure. Woods just won't be tuned into the competitive mindset that a Tour player needs to win. You can only get that through playing in tournaments. He needed to play at least once before Augusta.
Here's where Woods's game stands going into the Masters...
Driving: This has always been the weakest part of his game. But because Augusta has such wide fairways, spraying the driver won't hurt Woods. He can hit it all over the place and still do well.
Irons: Woods has always been very precise with long and short irons. After weeks of practice, he'll be tuned up enough to shoot for the subsections of Augusta's greens. This will be a big strength.
Putting: It's the strongest part of his game. Woods is the best putter on Tour. But putting will be Woods's nemesis at Augusta. The only way to make putts under pressure is to be used to doing it. At the Masters, he will have doubts on the greens. He hasn't seen a putt that matters in a long time, and he won't be able to cultivate that confidence overnight.
Short Game: Woods should be about the same as always with his chipping and pitching, meaning he'll be superb. It's easier to retain and rejuvenate your short game than your putting. Chips and pitches involve a quicker, less stressful action than putts, so these shots aren't as prone to yips and mental gaffes.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Jim Suttie, Ph.D., coaches the men's golf team at Florida Gulf Coast University and teaches at the Club at TwinEagles in Naples, Fla.