The 2012 Masters at Augusta is here! ESPN 760 personalities break-down how Tiger Woods will perform, and whether or not there's another green jacket in his future...
Evan Cohen - Host, Weekdays 4-6 p.m.
Give Tiger Woods all the credit in the world for finally winning, but remember, he is Tiger Woods. He himself does not just judge his career on wins, he measures his success based on titles. Winning a tournament at Bay Hill and winning a title at Augusta are two different stories. Woods may be close to "back", but he is not there yet. Rory McIlroy is the best player in the world and for Woods to make his title return, he will need to beat "Amen Corner" and McIlory, easier said than done.
Jeremy Marks-Peltz - Host, Weekdays 6-8 p.m.
I've been the official Tiger Woods naysayer of ESPN 760 the past two years, so if you think that is going to change based off of one PGA Tour win, then you have another thing coming. What Tiger has put together in 2012 has been impressive relative to his woefully inconsistent play in 2010 and 2011. But that doesn't make him the favorite to win the Masters in my eyes. Tiger can absolutely be in that conversation, but I favor a Rory McIlroy or Phil Mickelson if we are going by best golfers in the world right now. Tiger will have to triumph in a major before I crown him "officially and completely back.”
Steve Politziner - ESPN 760 Fantasy Expert, Golf Contributor
Regardless of what was going on with his health, when Tiger plays Augusta, he competes. The past few years though, it's been his putting that's failed him down the stretch. Now, after getting some consistent play over the last month, Tiger will come into Augusta without rust, which will allow him to get off to a fast start. I think he will go on to lead wire-to-wire and win his 5th green jacket at Augusta and any question about if he is back will be answered with an an exclamation point!
Russ Evans - Host, The Golf Exchange presented by The Honda Classic, Sundays 9-11 a.m.
Augusta National is built for Tiger Woods. He’s won 4 green jackets, has never missed the cut as a professional, and only once has he finished outside the top 20 over the last 15 years. He’s finished second twice, third once, fourth twice and sixth once in the six Masters tournaments since his last win in 2005. Those two fourth-place finishes came in 2010 and 2011, when his game was far less than stellar. This season he’s playing much better golf, he’s leading the PGA TOUR in total driving and he broke through for his first win in over two years at Bay Hill two weeks ago. If Tiger’s putter is on this week, he will win his fifth green jacket. Even if his putter goes cold, you can put him down for yet another top five.
Ken LaVicka - Update Anchor, Voice of Florida Atlantic University
It's a scenario that those who love to crush Tiger are dreading. A resurgent Woods hitting his stride, re-gaining his putting stroke, reviving the fist pump. You can make a legitimate argument that no other golfer in the world has played better or has played more consistent than Woods in 2012, and now is his time to finally quiet the gaping loud-mouths and persistent gossipers. Woods has fought through a shaky putter and annoying injuries all year, yet has somehow found a way to play the best we've seen since his return from marital troubles. That should worry "the field". Tiger is playing at his favorite course, in his favorite tournament, with a ton of confidence. It's time to send a message: "Don't you ever forget about me". Tiger Woods wins the Masters.
John Martin - Co-Host, Weekdays 4-6 p.m.
I am a fan of Tiger Woods. It feels like he may just make a run here. Seems like his swing is back and if he can putt at all then I think he has a good shot to be wearing a brand new jacket on Monday. In fact I am going to predict that young Eldrick Woods will be your Masters champion.
Alex Petakas - Host, The Saturday and Sunday Sports Page, Update Anchor
When Tiger Woods won the Arnold Palmer invitational at Bay Hill, many argue that he gained the confidence he needed going into The Master's. Maybe that's true. But what's more encouraging for the Tiger fan is the fact that now, along with his new found confidence - if he really did lack in that department - Tiger has proven that he is healthy enough to win. And that Tiger's momentum coming into Augusta goes beyond just Bay Hill. Let's not forget his final round at the Honda Classic, which was nearly enough for him to overtake the eventual winner Rory McIlroy. He's healthy. He's playing better. And Augusta is a course that Tiger has somewhat mastered (forgive the pun). If he's not amongst the leaders going into Sunday, I'd be shocked. If he wins his first major since 2008? Wouldn't be shocked at all.
Joe Colella - Co-Host, The Saturday Sports Page, Update Anchor
Based on his last few years at Augusta (7 straight top 10's), there's no reason for me to suspect Tiger WON'T be in the hunt this weekend. His win in Bay Hill capped off a string of tournaments where Tiger looked more and more like his old self. And it's hard to shake off that final round 62 he shot at the Honda Classic a few weeks ago in our own back yard. I'll take a top 3 finish for Tiger, and I wouldn't bet against him getting his fifth green jacket.
Brian Rowitz - Co-Host/Producer, Weekdays 6-8 p.m.
As we head into the Masters just the fact that Tiger Woods is considered among the favorites is a great accomplishment for Tiger. Is this finally the time where Tiger takes that next step and finally wins a Major? For me I give a resounding YES to that question. Tiger finally seems to be getting things together and what better way to show the world that then putting on yet another green jacket? I think Tiger adds to that major total and on Sunday he will be covering his Sunday red with some Masters’ green.
Listen to Masters leaderboard reports Thursday-Sunday on ESPN 760 and ESPN760.com
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