Woods will win a major a year, says Rose

 

Is that the sound of Tiger Woods' rivals running to the hills? Not quite, although Justin Rose does believe that he and his fellow pros should resign themselves to another period of domination from the red-shirted one.

Rose is not given to hyperbole, but the Englishman is prepared to make a grand statement when it comes to the winner of Sunday's Arnold Palmer Invitational. Not only will Woods return to the top of the world rankings, but he will also break Jack Nicklaus's record major haul in a handful of seasons. Rose does not necessarily disagree with the assessment of Johnny Miller, the former major champion turned celebrated TV analyst, that "Tiger could win 35 to 40 more times in his career".

"To tell you the truth, if he's going to be playing like this again, I think he will dominate golf again," said Rose the day after the 36-year-old lifted his first official title in more than two years. "I see him winning a major a year for the next five, six years, plus four other tournaments a year. Which is pretty damn good."

That must be a chilling thought for the rest, who will go to the season's first major knowing there will only be one favourite. Despite the undoubted merits of Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood and himself, even, Rose spots the likelihood of a fifth Green Jacket heading to a certain wardrobe. "He's going to be the man to beat at Augusta," said the world No 8, who won the WGC-Cadillac Championship a fortnight ago, of The Masters, which begins on 5 April. "Even Tiger playing badly has competed at Augusta the last couple of years."

Those two fourth places in the wake of the sex scandal do seem to take on an ominous significance. If Woods can finish so high when his swing and his mind are all over the place, what might he achieve in the form he showed to win at Bay Hill by five strokes?

After describing the experience as "pure joy", Woods was typically understated, saying: "I understand how to play Augusta National and I'm looking forward to my opportunities this year." His caddie, Joe LaCava, summed up his employer's eagerness. "Tiger wishes the Masters was tomorrow," he said.

LaCava, who took over Tiger's bag six months ago, believes his player will now go onwards and ever upwards. "Even a guy like that still needs to win to have confidence, so I think it gives him a lot going into Augusta," he said. "It proves to him that all the hard work's paid off and he can still get it done. I don't think he ever doubted himself, but it's nice to win so you can have that self-belief."

Woods would never admit it, but the timing of his 72nd PGA Tour win – one short of Nicklaus – must have been sweet for another reason than its proximity to Augusta. Today, The Big Miss, the controversial tell-all by his former coach Hank Haney, will be published. It already seems outdated. Furthermore, Woods' accuracy with the driver appeared to justify the promise of Sean Foley, Haney's successor. Foley, who is also Rose's coach, told Woods he would transform him into what he never was under Haney – a great driver.

"I don't need to be validated," Foley said. "It's all a process of learning. I'm happy see him like this, because winning, outside of his kids, is what matters to him most."

There remain doubts over Woods' putting, regardless of the numbers at Doral. However, Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, believes this is what defines him from the rest. For all the talk about McIlroy and the new generation, Johnson is not convinced the young Ulsterman or any contemporary yet qualifies as an heir. "There are some young guys out there who have an immense amount of talent but if and when they make putts when they have to make putts, then I might rescind my belief that Tiger is still the best," he said.

Maybe the Masters will settle the debate. "Tiger winning by five means Tiger will be favourite," said Ian Poulter yesterday. "But then there is Rory who, after last year [when he shot 80 in the final round], wants to make amends, Luke's in great form, as is Lee [Westwood] and Phil [Mickelson]. There's so many guys playing well right now. Yes, there is more momentum going into this Masters than any I can remember. For golf fans it's very exciting."

Poulter will fancy his own chances, having come third at Bay Hill, as will Graeme McDowell, the Ulsterman who ran Woods closest in Orlando. Yet none of them will concern the new world No 6 if he can replicate this performance. Typical of the man, however, he has returned to Jupiter, Florida, to make improvements before his effort to win a first major in four years.

"I need this week off to work on some things," said Woods. "I enjoyed the progression we made this week. It's a very good sign going into Augusta." For him and golf both.

* Arnold Palmer was released from hospital yesterday after missing the end of the tournament bearing his name. The 82-year-old traditionally welcomes the winner off the final green, but on Sunday he was forced to admit himself to hospital, because of high blood pressure.

Suggested Topics
News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits