April 6, 2006 — -- Picking against Tiger Woods to win the year's first major -- heck, picking against Woods to win any tournament -- is like going against the New York Yankees in the World Series. It takes a herculean effort by someone else, and sometimes even that's not enough.
It predicts Vijay Singh will win the year's first major.
The five stat categories used by the MPI (listed in order of importance) are greens in regulation, par breakers, driving distance for all drives, par-5 scoring average and 3-putt avoidance. Performances in the previous four Masters and the first three months of 2006 also were considered.
Two weeks ago, picking Singh to win at Augusta National would have been a ticket to doom. Sure, he played well during the first two months of the year, but he burned himself out with a trip to the Middle East to play Qatar and Dubai and skipped the Honda Classic for much-needed rest and a swing tune-up. He said he wasn't going to return to the PGA Tour until his game reached a point he could be proud of, and, despite a final-round hiccup at The Players Championship last week, the results of his last two starts have been encouraging. He finished seventh at Bay Hill and T-8 at Sawgrass, giving him a tour-best six top-10 finishes this year.
"[At Bay Hill,] I found a few things in my golf swing, and it's all down to rhythm," Singh said before the Players. "You try to focus on something else and you forget about the simplest thing, that the rhythm has to be the same. I'm making putts now. I'm feeling a lot more at ease on the greens, a lot more comfortable [there]. I'm feeling good about my game. Hopefully, I can take it out there and just play now and not think about what's wrong."