Network executives are excited about the boost TV ratings for The Masters will get if Tiger Woods is in contention to win his fifth green jacket. Coverage will air 2-6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday on ESPN and 2-6 p.m. Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday on CBS. In recent conference calls, network broadcasters discussed Wood's chances:
Nick Faldo, CBS: With his three wins (this year), Tiger has some serious determination in his game. Obviously, he has the skill. The interesting thing for me will be the nerves. The go-to shot under pressure for the driver last year was fascinating — he opened up with those two going-left hooks at one and two that really set the tone for the week. I kind of think he's better prepared this year. Maybe that shocked him last year. So I think if he deals with that I think we're going to get a big message right from the very first tee. I think it's a quite important tee shot for Tiger to really send a message to himself that he has the shots when he really needs it. You get a few tee shots on the golf course where you're just not comfortable, but it's how you deal with them — how you get away with them. If he's got that, he's almost guaranteed to be in the running.
Jim Nantz, CBS: The big question mark with the physical part of his game is going to come down to how he's going to handle the greens. I agree with Nick. For some reason, that opening tee shot, not only in the first round but in fourth rounds in a number of these years, has been problematic for him. It's been a big wide left miss. Really, since 2005 when he beat Chris DiMarco the last time he won a green jacket, he's had a really hard time figuring out the Augusta greens. His putting this year has been outstanding leading up to the tournament. To me his game is the most complete it's been since he won his last green jacket in 2005. He appears in my eyes to be more prepared to win a green jacket than he has in any point since '05.
Curtis Strange, ESPN: The last three years I read and hear about how he's lost intimidation factor, and he did probably because the players had gained on him, because the players had gotten so much better, and they have a little bit, and he'll never get it back. And I always disagreed because he's still the better player of everybody. He's still better than Rory, he's still better than Westwood when he was playing. He was still not the best player because he was going through some changes and personal issues and just wasn't playing as well, but if he ever started playing decent, I think they would know, and I really think it's like that now. ... You know he's not going to give you much. He might give you something because he might drive it in trouble, but he's going to make a lot of birdies and a lot of putts and handle the pressure. And I really think that the intimidation factor is not completely back, but it's growing in that direction.