Golf commentary | 2014 is Tiger's year to win a major

January 9, 2014 

The PGA Tour is in full swing following last week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where Zach Johnson snagged his 11th career victory.

That number is significant because only three players (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh) have won more tournaments since Johnson joined the PGA Tour in 2004.

So it's safe to say Johnson has joined golf's elite.

It's also safe to say that Jordan Spieth is ready to make good on a splendid 2013 season.

The 20-year-old Spieth finished runner-up at the Tournament of Champions after misfiring on an eagle attempt on the last hole. He played solid golf with just two bogeys for the week.

With a new breed emerging, excitement surrounds 2014.

The prevailing question entering the season is the same as in years past: Can

Tiger Woods get back to winning major championships and eventually surpass Jack Nicklaus on the all-time list?

Well, that answer was muddled the past few years as Woods gradually began finding his once-dominant game.

Last year wasn't a success for El Tigre. Yes, he won five tournaments. But none of those events was a major, and that is the only thing that Woods cares about winning.

This year is Woods' best bet. Woods has had success on three of the four courses hosting majors this year.

His ability at Augusta National, site of the Masters each spring, is well-documented. Woods has four green jackets, though he has not won the Masters since 2005.

The British Open will be hosted by Royal Liverpool Golf Club in July. The course is known for being a part of the Grand Slam that Bobby Jones won in 1930. To date, Jones is the only player in history to win four majors in the same season.

Woods won the last British Open held at Royal Liverpool, when he carded an 18-under par 270 total in 2006.

And the final major of 2014, the PGA Championship, is being held at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. Woods won the last men's major at the course back in 2000, when he bested journeyman Bob May in a playoff to complete his "Tiger Slam."

But this golf season isn't just about Woods and his pursuit of Nicklaus.

Phil Mickelson's breakthrough across the pond last summer means Lefty might finally overcome his U.S. Open demons and get that elusive crown when the tournament heads to Pinehurst No. 2 in June.

And with Spieth's continuing maturation, it looks like American golf is on the rise.

So expect Woods to finally burst through with a major victory; otherwise, he might not ever win one again. Also expect Mickelson to contend at Pinehurst.

If both happen, fans are in store for an exciting 2014 season.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill

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