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Saturday, January 26, 2013
Updated: January 29, 9:33 AM ET
Tiger's iron play stood out in victory

ESPN.com

For all his success at Torrey Pines, Tiger has never shot four rounds in the 60s in the Farmers Insurance Open and that continued Monday after his final-round 72. Despite his struggles late during the slow play of Monday's conclusion to Woods' 2013 PGA Tour debut, he did still notch his 75th career win on the PGA Tour, only seven shy of Sam Snead's all-time mark.

So what does Woods' win mean for Tiger going forward? Our experts delve into that topic and more in this week's edition of Four-Ball.


1. Tiger owns Torrey Pines, Firestone and Bay Hill. What do you say to the critics who point out that 22 of his 75 PGA Tour wins came on only three courses?

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: To his critics, I say that means 53 wins didn't come at only three courses. You have an issue with 53 wins? All but one of the majors were won elsewhere, so trying to minimize the victories because of location is ridiculous.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Most of the good players enter events only at courses where they play well. Tiger just happens to have an amazing winning percentage using this tactic.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Whether the courses suit him or not, you still have to play well. Just because he has had success at those venues does not mean it is guaranteed. He didn't win the Open at St. Andrews in 2010, where he had won the two previous Opens. Woods has not fared particularly well at Firestone since winning there in 2009. Victories at these places are far from automatic.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: A win is a win no matter where you get it. Sure, there's a bunch of them at the same place. That's bound to happen when you win the second-most victories in the history of the PGA Tour. To say that it in any way diminishes or tarnishes those titles is ludicrous.


2. What most impressed and least impressed you with Tiger Woods' victory at Torrey Pines?

Michael Collins: Most impressed by his ballstriking for three and a half days. The irons -- and short irons especially -- were better than we've seen in a while. I was least impressed by his driving coming down the stretch. Driver going both directions isn't going to get you a major anytime soon.

Farrell Evans: The most impressive thing was his bunker play. I have never seen it better. Yet as good as he drove the ball, particularly on par-5s, he still hits too many foul balls.

Bob Harig: His short-iron play has shown improvement over 2012, and that was the obvious place where he needed to gain some ground. Woods simply didn't hit it close enough last year with a wedge in his hands, and he was in the top 20 in that category at Torrey Pines. On the negative side, he seemingly does not have a go-to shot off the tee. He hit only four fairways in the final round and struggled off the tee in Abu Dhabi as well. It might be an aberration, as Woods had many good driving tournaments last year. But so far, it appears he needs work.

Kevin Maguire: The least impressed is the easier part: his finish. Monday's final round won't get it done in most tournaments, unless he stakes himself to an insurmountable lead as he did at Torrey Pines. On the flip side, his short game really looked as though he did put in all the work he said he did over the offseason. Last week's missed cut in Abu Dhabi seems like an aberration.


3. In what year, if any, does Woods eclipse Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour wins?

Michael Collins: The record will be broken in 2015. He'll win three to four more times this year and three times next year. Win 83 will come at the beginning of 2015.

Farrell Evans: By the middle of 2014, Tiger will conquer Slammin' Sam's record.

Bob Harig: To get past 82, it's going to take until 2015. If he wins a total of four in each of the next two years, he'll still need one more in 2015 to pass Snead.

Kevin Maguire: If we give him three more this year, which I do, that'll put him at 78. Five more in 2014? That sounds about right. I'd say 2015 at the latest, injuries notwithstanding.


4. With the debate about using GPS yardage devices being discussed during Sunday's broadcast of the Farmers Insurance Open, thumbs up or down on if the PGA Tour should allow them during tournament rounds?

Michael Collins: Thumbs up. With all the changes that take place from year to year at tournament courses, using a laser won't change anything, especially if they don't use one with slope. That being said, it also won't speed up play. Let them try it once, have everyone use the same laser and see how it works. Can't hurt to try!

Farrell Evans: Thumbs down. Yardages are a science and caddies and players would do well to continue the practice. Nothing about the GPS devices helps a player deal with 20 mph crosswinds.

Bob Harig: Perhaps the time has come. Players with top-notch caddies who prepare the most would lose an advantage, but almost all of them use the devices during practice rounds anyway. And if there is any chance that they help speed up play -- a huge sore spot Monday -- then GPS should be allowed.

Kevin Maguire: Thumbs up. Anything that could potentially speed up play, especially after the abomination we witnessed Monday at Torrey Pines, should be greenlighted immediately on the PGA Tour. And a couple of penalty strokes for a second bad time once you get put on the clock would be a welcome addition, too.