Should Tiger be the favorite at The Open?

July, 18, 2012
7/18/12
10:17
PM ET

David Cannon/Getty ImagesTiger Woods will look to end his major drought this week at Royal Lytham & St Annes
Tiger Woods is the oddsmakers favorite at the 2012 Open Championship – slightly ahead of Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, but should he be?

Woods has shown life this year with three wins. His victories have come on courses in which he has combined to capture 16 of his 74 PGA TOUR career wins. But the only time Woods played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, he finished T-25 after posting three rounds in the 70s.

There is also Woods well-documented major drought, having played in 12 since his last win at the 2008 U.S. Open. His recent play at majors does not point to a 15th career major win.

In his last ten rounds at majors, Woods has been under par only once. In those same ten rounds – which span three majors, Woods has shot 75 or worse three times. In 68 rounds from the 2006 U.S. Open through the 2011 Masters (18 majors), Woods had four rounds of 75 or worse.

This year has been especially troubling for Woods at majors as 2012 marked the first time as a pro that he played in both the Masters and U.S. Open and didn't post a Top 20 finish in either. Strangely, both of those tournaments came in the event immediately following his first two wins of the year.

In his last 6 majors, Woods finished within 5 shots of the lead only once (2011 Masters) and his T-40 finish at the Masters in 2012 was his worst major finish as a pro.

After entering the weekend at the 2012 U.S. Open with a share of the lead, a 75-73 (+8) weekend accounted for his second-worst weekend score at a major. It also marked the second straight major that Woods was unable to win after holding a share of the 36-hole lead.

Prior to Y.E. Yang conquering Woods in the final round of the 2009 PGA Championship, Woods had been a perfect 8-for-8 in majors in which he held the 36-hole lead. Is the mystique gone? In his last 12 weekend rounds at majors, Woods has broken par in two of them.

So while it would be a surprise to no one if Woods again hoisted the Claret Jug, it would also not be a surprise to see Tiger with an earlier tee time than he would like come Sunday.

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