McGinley, one of the more astute observers of the ancient game, knows Woods’ game well and close at hand having played in Ryder Cup’s where Woods has teed-up in the opposing USA team.
But after just five events this year since returning to full-time competition in January McGinley believes it is too much to ask for Woods, who has not contested the Masters since 2015, to be made favourite to win what would be a fifth Augusta green jacket and a 15th Major.
“It is a big ask for Tiger to win the Masters but then in saying that it is incredible how quickly he’s come back to be competitive but there is a big difference between being competitive and winning a Major Championship,” said McGinley.
“We’ve seen it in the first phase of his career how tough he’s been both physically and mentally, with arguably he and Nicklaus the best players ever to play the game.”
“Though there are a couple of questions still to be answered mentally in this now second stage of his career. In that first phase of his career Tiger was just brilliant but we’ve seen already in this second phase, when he had the chance to force a play-off at the Valspar Championship he decided to use a 2-iron off the 18th tee and leave himself a good 200-yards into that raised green.”
“I just felt that was a strange decision as if Tiger had hit driver it would then only have been a wedge and presented the chance of making birdie, so I would like to know his reasoning there.”
“Secondly, he got himself in contention at the Honda Classic with a few holes to go and drove it out-of-bounds on 16, so I think we are jumping the gun a little bit to make him a favourite. To be labelled as a favourite is unfair odds on Tiger.”
“I do think he will contend but to go from where he’s been to winning a Major Championship, and in such a short space of time since returning to full-time competition, also given the quality of players around him, I would be very, very surprised if he were to win but I do, at the same time, expect him to contend.”
“So, it’s just too early to put this pressure on Tiger as he has a couple of mental hurdles to climb first and if he was to win a tournament then that would be the platform for him to go on and really be considered to win another Major.”
“It’s just too much of an ask for him to win at Augusta but having said that he knows Augusta so well and that can only help and so much so I would not be surprised to see him possibly finishing top-10.”