Tiger Woods will shine in ‘09

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tiger Woods is on the prowl this season and will be better and stronger than ever, at least that’s what many people think.

Last weekend, the 2009 Professional Golfers Association tour season kicked off at the Mercedes-Benz Championship at Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii, with a purse of $5.6 million.

The golfing season is under way and No. 1 Woods, who after the 2008 U.S. Open underwent knee surgery, is shaking many of his colleagues’ spikes already.

That’s pretty impressive when you think about it, because Woods’ first tournament of the year is the Buick Invitational in February. Woods won it last year.

Commentators say that Woods will be better than ever because his knee is the strongest it has ever been and that he will retain his No. 1 ranking in the world.

I happen to agree with the commentators this time.

After the U.S. Open, I know for Woods it must have been terrible to miss the Open Championship last July and the coveted Ryder Cup, which the United States team won over Europe.

But do not forget that there were reports that Woods was text messaging USA team captain Paul Azinger giving advice and words of encouragement.

That’s pretty huge at how much influence Tiger has off the course. His influence triples when he is amidst other players.

So, what will this year bring for Tiger?

Another grand slam in golf?

That would be a comeback if I have ever heard of one.

To go from crutches to clutching the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship tournament titles would be amazing.

This new “stronger and better” Tiger might be somebody different from the old Tiger Woods.

It will be interesting to see if that holds up this season as the major tournaments get closer, with the first being The Masters in April.

As to what my projections are for Tiger this golfing season, strictly pertaining to major titles? Woods won second place last year and I think he will be vying for first position again along with the Open Championship in Scotland this year.

It will be a banner year for Woods and I’m expecting a chase that many fans will never forget.

Every Thursday sports edition of the Star-News will feature a column on either national or local sports news.