|Tiger Woods has his sights set on a big year. (GettyImages)|
I don't need to re-introduce you to the Tiger Woods narrative. You already know the following things:
He is relevant whether you want him to be or not.
He is one of the five best golfers ever.
He is running out of time to reach Jack Nicklaus' major record.
People have different expecations for who they think Woods should be, what he should do.
Some think he's still the sweet-swinging magician from the early 2000s; some think he's the maniacal sieve of a player the media built him up to be three years ago.
The truth, as it usually does, lies somewhere in the middle.
The year 2000 was a long time ago and it is not coming back any time soon. As such, we need to readjust our expectations for who Tiger is and what he can be.
So here are four realistic expectations for Woods heading into 2013 (compared to what they used to be) and whether or not I think he can fulfill them.
Old: Tiger can win multiple majors.
New: Tiger can win one major.
One is the new two or three. Tiger's biggest thing, and he's always said this, is giving himself a chance on the final nine holes of majors. He didn't really do that last year other than the British Open -- and even then he was only retrospectively in the hunt with Adam Scott's massive collapse.
A lot of people are predicting Tiger's first major win this year since the 2008 U.S. Open but I think he still comes up empty-handed. He'll be in a couple this year -- more than he was last year -- but it's a lot harder to close out the field than it was when he was on top of the world in 2000.
Old: Tiger can win every nonmajor PGA tournament.
New: Tiger can win 3-4 nonmajor PGA tournaments.
I think three tournaments for the second year in a row is doable. It's getting tougher as his schedule continues to shrink -- and he plays in more tournaments overseas -- but after what we saw from him last year (wins at Memorial, AT&T, and Arnold's tournament plus top fives at the Honda Classic, Deutsche Bank Championship, and BMW Championship), I see no reason this trend can't continue.
Old: Tiger can get to 19 majors
New: Tiger can get to 16 majors
I just don't see Tiger reaching Nicklaus at this point. The major fields are too deep and he has too few opportunities left. As we pointed out a few weeks ago, turning 37 isn't exactly a kiss of death for major winners so I think he still gets two more, but five is too many to ask from him at this point.
Old: Tiger can be the best golfer ever
New: Tiger can be the best golfer ever
This is one that hasn't changed. He needs to break Sam Snead's 82 PGA Tour wins record (at 74 right now) and he needs to at least get in Nicklaus' neighborhood of 18 majors.
After that, given the depth of the fields he's competed against and the influx of top-flight foreign golfers (compared to Nicklaus' era), we can have the discussion, even if he doesn't reach 18 or 19 majors.
So those should be the reset expectations for Tiger Woods fans. He's not going to win every tournament he plays -- he's not even going to be favored in most -- but he still has a shot at history.
And that's always enough to keep us coming back.