Tour Confidential: Tiger Woods’ Masters prep, Nelly’s winning streak, Scottie’s epic month

We discuss Tiger Woods’ trip to Augusta, Scottie Scheffler’s epic March, Nelly Korda’s winning streak and PGA Tour courses you can play.

The post Tour Confidential: Tiger Woods’ Masters prep, Nelly’s winning streak, Scottie’s epic month appeared first on Golf.

We discuss Tiger Woods’ trip to Augusta, Scottie Scheffler’s epic March, Nelly Korda’s winning streak and PGA Tour courses you can play.

The post Tour Confidential: Tiger Woods’ Masters prep, Nelly’s winning streak, Scottie’s epic month appeared first on Golf.

Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topics in the sport, and join the conversation by tweeting us at @golf_com. This week we discuss Tiger Woods’ trip to Augusta National, Scottie Scheffler’s epic month of March, Nelly Korda’s winning streak, PGA Tour courses you can play and more.

1. Scottie Scheffler’s run at three straight wins fell just short at the Texas Children’s Houston Open. Scheffler missed a 5 1/2-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole that would have forced a playoff with Stephan Jaeger, but instead the miss handed the 34-year-old Jaeger his first career win in his 135th start. What did you learn about Scheffler over this last month?

Nick Dimengo, instruction editor (@ndimengo): That he’s got Tiger blood, so to speak. During Woods’ dominant decade, he never took a tournament, round or hole off; he went out every week expecting to win. Scheffler may be ways away from what we saw with Woods, but the same winning mentality is there.

Josh Sens, senior writer (@JoshSens): That he has both a dominating game and the mindset to treat every week as a big week, regardless of the event. He’s not pulling a Brooks Koepka and saving his ammo for majors only.

Josh Berhow, managing editor (@Josh_Berhow): That the rest of the Tour needs to play its absolute best to beat him and then also hope Scottie isn’t firing on all cylinders. Everyone has some funky stuff happen to them over the course of 72 holes, but Scottie made two double bogeys on a careless three-putt from inside 7 feet and a wedge that he thought was perfect that spun off the green and into the water — and he still nearly won. But he’s got that fight in him, too. Look at the 18th hole on Sunday for example. Skinns needed birdie and pulled it left into a bunker. Jaeger needed birdie to seal it and hit a so-so shot to 20 feet. Scheffler knew he needed birdie and hit a dart to 5 feet. He missed the putt, sure, but he’s got another level to his game others don’t.

2. Speaking of winning streaks, don’t forget about Nelly Korda, who won the Ford Championship on Sunday to claim her third straight win on the LPGA Tour. Korda also won last week, and her first win of this stretch came in late January at the LPGA Drive On Championship. What’s gotten into Korda so far in 2024? And is her streak actually more impressive than Scheffler’s recent run since it spans a longer time frame?

Dimengo: Yes, it’s more impressive than Scheffler’s — because golf is hard, and to maintain that kind of consistency over four days (let alone three different tournaments) is insane! As for what’s gotten into her, I might have to ask her coach, GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jamie Mulligan, who may have a better answer than I ever could.

Sens: What’s happening mechanically I couldn’t say. But so much of golf comes down to mindset. The confidence and calm to stay in the moment and swing with absolute belief. Korda is fresh off a voluntary break from the game, which she seemed to relish. She herself said it. That’s just golf. Sometimes everything clicks and the mental and physical positives keep feeding off each other. As for which is more impressive, that’s splitting hairs. But you could make the argument that Korda’s streak is more impressive. Not because of its length but because the women’s game isn’t divided, like the men’s game, with top players splintered off on different circuits. Only at the majors do you have to beat “everyone.”

Berhow: She hits it far and she’s pretty accurate, and her ball-striking is some of the best on tour. She rarely misses greens and is a good and streaky putter. But more than all of that, she’s just smart and consistent. She knows what she does well and plays to her strengths. It’s very Scheffler-like, in a way, in the fact that she’s just always hanging around. It’s boringly good. Her bad rounds are never really bad enough — or frequent enough — that it keeps her out of contention. I also think she’s a little refreshed to start this season, as Sens mentioned, which can go a long way. As for if her streak is better than Scottie’s, it’s hard to say. She had less attention around her and had a big break in between the first and second win, but they are both ridiculously impressive in their own way. It will be fun to see if Nelly can make it four in a row, because this week’s event in Vegas will make players flex both stroke-play and match-play muscles.

3. Only one more PGA Tour event sits between now and the Masters, and Tiger Woods is among those already prepping for the first major of the season. Woods made a weekend trip to Augusta National — reportedly playing with Justin Thomas and club chairman Fred Ridley — and all signs point to him teeing it up for his 26th Masters in less than two weeks from now. Woods knows the course better than anyone, but based on his minimal starts and health the past couple of years, what should we expect from him at the 2024 Masters?

Dimengo: As always with Woods, it comes down to his health. I know he withdrew from the Genesis last month due to illness, but even during his brief appearance at that event, nobody really got a glimpse of how he’s playing or feeling physically. At Augusta, I expect him to make the cut; he knows the course better than anyone. The five-time champ should consider anything better than T25 a huge victory (although you know he won’t).

Sens: It’s easy to get carried away with romantic expectations. But if we are being reasonable, it’s hard to imagine him getting through two competitive rounds on such a hilly course without some serious discomfort and awkward swings. I hope he contends. But I wouldn’t wager on him to make the cut.

Berhow: So many things have to go right for him these days. The cold, rainy weather didn’t help his chances last year, and he needs to avoid nagging injuries before and during the tournament. I still think he can make the cut — which isn’t as difficult to do at Augusta compared to other majors — although not sure he’d be in contention come Sunday. But if everything lines up, he’s proven you shouldn’t bet against him.

4. While the PGA Tour heads to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open and its final Masters tune-up, LIV Golf returns to the states after stops in Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong. While Anthony Kim won’t be in Augusta, it will be the first time we see the mysterious star teeing it up in the U.S. since 2012. What kind of reception do you think he’ll receive at Trump Doral in Miami?

Dimengo: Kim’s return to pro golf is a fascinating one, and I think even the most casual fans are rooting for him to play well. Who doesn’t like a good comeback story? I expect bigger crowds and more support for him in Miami, given the attention he’s gotten since his first LIV tourney.

Tony Finau and Alejandro Tosti talk during the Houston Open.

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Sens: My sense is that Kim was more fascinating to fans in his absence than he has been in his return. He will get a warm reception, of course. But unless he plays exceptionally well, I’m not expecting a lot of pomp and circumstance around him. At this point, he counts mostly as another very good golfer who isn’t Tiger Woods. Which is part of the problem pro golf is up against in these divided days in the game.

Berhow: It might be a better playing experience for Anthony, since he’ll see and feel a little more love than what he probably got overseas, but the watery course he’s going to face might actually give him more headaches than the other two. I still think it would have been better to have this week be his LIV debut, but I also see the PR narrative of slowly dipping the toes into the water. Anyway, if he’s got something super low in his back pocket, this would be a good week to trot it out.

5. In honor of the Tour stopping at a municipal course in Memorial Park, we broke down all the 2024 PGA Tour courses (and their price) that YOU can play. Where are you going?

Dimengo: Oh, man, I wasn’t expecting this kind of question today. I’ll go with the Corales Course at Puntacana. Why? Outside of its beauty and incredible views/layout, who wouldn’t want a trip to the Dominican Republic to play golf? Sign me up!

Sens: Links golf on a grand old links I have never played before. From our list, this choice is easy: Royal Troon.

Berhow: Hard to say no to Royal Troon, and while there’s a few on here high up on my bucket list, for now, I’m thinking Kapalua, because that one comes with a tropical vacation.

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