Tiger Woods is 'super, super ready for The Masters'
PAUL Gow hoped he would one day again get to see Tiger Woods win a golf tournament; now he expects that tournament to be the US Masters at Augusta National next April.
Never has a T9 finish at a limited-field event been met with the excitement and fervour of Woods' return at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas and just like he did at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach Gow wasn't going to miss a thing.
Now host of The Golf Show, 17 years ago Gow was in the field for the US Open and for the one and only time in his career finished his morning round before heading back out with the enormous galleries to watch Woods smash the rest of the world-class field by 15 shots.
He witnessed Woods hit a shot out of the rough at the iconic par-five sixth hole that defied the laws of physics.
"No human could get that ball out of the rough and move it more than 100 metres and he's moved it 220 over water onto the green and made birdie,” Gow said.
He was up at 4am last Friday to see whether the magic was gone for good.
It was more hope than expectation that the Woods of old would be in there somewhere but with a single swing off the first tee Gow saw enough to completely re-evaluate just how good Tiger can be again.
"I'd given up on him ever winning another major. Now I'm looking the other way,” Gow told Foxsports.com.au.
"We know what his mental capabilities are and his work ethic and I reckon the one he'll be shooting for will be the Masters.
"Watch out on that West Coast swing. He is super, super ready for The Masters.
"I had hoped he'd win another golf tournament; now if his body is fine after this week I'm expecting him to win a major.”
A series of knee and back injuries had rendered the man who forced course changes to Augusta National with his power to someone more resemblant of the B Grade seniors champion at a local golf club.
Yet with his opening swing in Thursday's first round he outdrove one of the longest hitters on tour, Justin Thomas, to signal his intentions.
The swing speed was unlike anything Tiger had produced since his world unravelled in spectacular fashion in the wake of his visit to Australia in 2009 to play in Melbourne's version of the Masters and the touch with the putter was good enough to elicit some famous Tiger fist pumps.
And while Gow insists he will never again be the player that once won seven of 11 major championships between 1999-2002 that Woods still has enough game to beat the best currently on tour.
"He won't get close to peak Tiger but I reckon there's a massive gap between how good Tiger Woods was and the best players today,” said Gow, who won close to $2 million in 138 starts on the PGA Tour.
"He can get to a level of Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth and the intimidation factor could absolutely grab these guys.”
'There's so much more upside left with him.â€