Tiger has winning look - Day

2012-04-02 22:44

Augusta - Tiger Woods has the same look in his eyes that Rory McIlroy had last year when winning the US Open, according to Jason Day, who settled for second place last year at the Masters and US Open.

And with Woods coming into the 76th Masters off his first US PGA victory in two-and-a-half years, the stage could be set this week at Augusta National for Woods to win his 15th major title and capture his first Major since the 2008 US Open.

"It's Tiger: 14 majors. He can get that back in a heartbeat, especially around here with the crowds," Day said. "They are on his side. If he's playing good, you'll definitely hear it. And it's kind of chilling if you do hear it."

Day, who dreams of becoming the first Australian to win the Masters, spoke to Woods on the driving range last month at Doral and caught a glimpse of the intensity that made Woods a golfing legend.

"I could tell that there was nothing else that he wanted to do more than win and play well," Day said. "I wasn't surprised. I said to my caddie, 'He's going to win pretty soon.' Surprising enough, he won a couple of weeks later.

"And I could just see it in his eyes that he was going to do it. That's just how it is. It was like when I was watching Rory last year at the US Open. I just knew he was going to win because it just looked different.

"It just seemed like Tiger, he was comfortable, but he had that look in his eye that he was going to do it pretty soon, and it happened."

Woods won his 72nd career US PGA crown at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first triumph since the eruption of his now infamous sex scandal and the completion of a comeback after an injury-nagged 2011 campaign.

"Obviously with what's happened in the past over the last few years, it kind of got away from him a little bit," Day said. "You can see that competitive spirit coming back to Tiger, especially after the win at Bay Hill.

"Tiger has had his troubles but he certainly has been working hard. It seems like before when he was really dominating, golf was the only thing that he was focusing on. The only thing he wanted to do was win and dominate.

"You can just tell when someone wants it enough. If you have the talent and you work hard enough, sooner or later, it's going to come. Tiger has dominated the game of golf for a long, long time, so it was just only a matter of time."

Day shared second with countryman Adam Scott last year, losing to the four-birdie finish of South African Charl Schwartzel.

Scott, whose caddie is former Woods caddie Steve Williams, likes Woods's chances this week as well.

"I think certainly Tiger has got to be in the mix," Scott said. "He's playing well and he has won four times here. He knows what he's doing."

If Woods is on form and can put himself into the back nine hunt on Sunday, his chances of winning at Augusta National for the first time since 2005 are strong once more, Day says.

"If he has momentum rolling on Sunday like he used to, he's a guy that can roll off four or five birdies on the back nine and do it pretty easily," Day said. "If he has the putter rolling, it makes it very simple for him.

"That's the hard thing. For us, we have to try and focus on what we need to do out there. A lot of the guys five, six, seven years ago were caught up in what he was doing and not themselves.

"And that's how they made poor decisions or mental errors and that's how Tiger came back a lot, just by guys making a lot of mistakes and him birdieing a lot of the holes coming in."