I never saw "Tiger Woods as the 2018 Masters favorite" coming -- I'm not sure anybody did -- but here we are two weeks before Augusta National with .
It's not really that big of a reach, either, as Vegas artificially inflates Woods' odds because everybody wants a Tiger ticket to hold on Sunday. In this case, he's also coming off of three straight top 15 performances and is No. 7 in strokes gained overall on the PGA Tour.
You could argue that each of his five performances this year has been better than the one before it.
All of that plays nicely at the place he probably knows as well as anyone in the world. But Woods said Sunday that there's still much work to be done before teeing it up two weeks from Thursday at the 82nd Masters.
"I need to go take a look at it," Tiger said of the course. "I haven't putted on bent grass in two years. So this is going to be new to me. Playing on rye like that, overseeded rye, different spins that we're going to encounter there. I was talking with [caddie Joey LaCava] about that early in the week. I'll figure out what wedge system I want to use for that week, what bounce system, get used to those bunkers, sand's very heavy, thick. So just have to do a little bit of work.
"I got to see if my book is any good. I have a book from three years ago, but ... I think they may have resurfaced three of the greens since last time I played. I want to go up there and make sure and then take a look at all my reads on my putts and see if they match my book. If they're not, then obviously I got to erase and draw some more lines."
Tiger's history at the Masters is well-documented. He has 13 top 10s in 18 appearances as a professional, including four wins. Maybe the most remarkable performance of his career came in 2015 when he took two months off before playing in the third-to-last pairing on Sunday and finishing T17.
"I'm looking forward to it," Woods said of his first Masters since 2015. "I haven't really thought that much about it, especially this week [at the Arnold Palmer Invitational]. I've been grinding and focusing on this week, trying to win this thing. Now the tournament's over, I'll start to make some changes for Augusta, what kind of equipment setup I'm going to go with, some things I want to do with my swing."
A suggestion: keep everything as it is and hit a lot of irons and 3-woods off the tee.
Woods is in the top 15 in strokes gained on approach shots, around the green and with the putter, but he's 148th in strokes gained off the tee and took himself out of the event at Bay Hill on Sunday by hitting a ball out of bounds late. He's good enough and smart enough to get around Augusta with his long irons. The stinger plays, and it looks fantastic through five events.
"I miss playing there," added Woods. "I've been there for the dinner and as great as that is, it's frustrating knowing that I'm ... young enough to play the event, where some of the other champions are not. I just have not been able to physically do it, which is difficult. I've had a lot of success there, too, so really looking forward to getting up there and doing a bit of work and getting a feel for the golf course and basically feel for playing that style of golf again."
With the winners we've gotten over the first three months of this year and Tiger really mixing it up again, the Masters looks like it's going to be completely bonkers. Everybody knows it -- including Tiger.
There are two events remaining on the schedule before Augusta, but Woods won't play either one of them. He doesn't qualify for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and will skip the Houston Open.
Still, he was asked on Sunday if back in December when this latest comeback started whether he could have expected a better body of work through five tournaments His answer was simple and should buoy the feeding frenzy going into the first major of 2018. Tiger looked up at reporters to answer his last pre-Masters week question.
"No," he said.
And that was that.