Woods hasn't won in a while, but after his performance at the Hero World Challenge, he should be positive about the new year. Here's 5 reasons why Tiger Woods will win in 2018.

5 Reasons Why Tiger Woods Will Win in 2018

It’s no secret that the last few years haven’t been kind to Tiger Woods.

Woods’ 2016 and 2017 campaigns were sorry affairs. Riddled with injury, he played only a handful of events in each and failed to finish highly in any of them.

Even more damningly, Tiger has not won a PGA Tour event since dominating the WGC-Bridgestone Championship by seven shots in 2013 and his last major victory came, depressingly, almost a decade ago.

Related: Tiger Woods announces early 2018 schedule

Nevertheless, with the 79-time PGA Tour winner looking healthy for the first time in five years at the Hero World Challenge in December, I’m backing this year to be a vintage one for the big cat.

Here’s 5 reasons why Tiger Woods will return to the winner’s circle in 2018:

1. He’s finally physically healthy

5 Reasons Why Tiger Woods Will Win in 2018

A long run proves no difficulty for Tiger who finally looks healthy in 2018

Or at least, he looks to be. When Woods returned to competitive golf at December’s Hero World Challenge, nobody, even Tiger himself, knew what to expect. We’d all heard the rumours – Brad Faxon, most notoriously, claiming that Tiger was outdriving DJ every other swing – but it took consistent driver ball speeds of over 180mph at the Hero to finally make us believe it. Woods is back, looking as strong as we’ve ever seen him and hitting it a country mile.

2. He’s hungry

5 Reasons Why Tiger Woods Will Win in 2018

Tiger chows down on his putter shaft after narrowly missing a putt in the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational

With all the iron he shifts it can be easy to forget that Tiger is now only 8 years away from playing on the Senior’s Tour. As they get older many athletes start to lose focus, prioritising family and business commitments ahead of the grind on the practice range. Certainly, Woods cuts a more convincing family figure these days, but the 14-time major champion has still got an appetite for range balls and is every bit as competitive as he’s ever been. Commenting on his goals for the new year, Woods said “I would like to have guys feel what some of my past guys had to go against all those years, I’d like to have them feel that same [great] play”. With Tiger up for the fight it’d be a brave man that betted against it.

Related: Golfer pays $210,000 for lesson with Tiger Woods

3. He’s (potentially) sorted his duff chipping

5 Reasons Why Tiger Woods Will Win in 2018

Woods in the process of holing THAT chip in the 2005 Masters

If there’s one thing that dogged Woods technically over the last couple of years it has been his short game. Woods first caught the chipping yips in his now-infamous 2015 outing in the Phoenix Waste Management Open, and they’ve been plaguing him pretty consistently ever since. The Hero World Challenge, however, saw an improvement in this. After chunking a couple of pitches in his first round, Woods spent the evening hitting chip shots and returned with his old razor sharp short game for the rest of the tournament. While it may be too early to say this for certain, it looks like Tiger’s chipping demons are gone.

4. His next few tournaments are at courses he’s dominated A LOT

5 Reasons Why Tiger Woods Will Win in 2018

“When you’re Tiger Woods, they don’t dare wriggle out”

Woods is set to return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines, a track at which he’s won a record-setting eight times over the years. Granted, at 7,600 yards, the South Course at Torrey will be a stiff examination of Tiger’s golf game, but if he trips up there he still has the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill which is another course which he’s won eight times. And there’s also, of course, the Masters at Augusta National. The 14-time major champion knows all of these layouts like the backs of his hands and he has plenty of great memories to help him to summon some form.

Related: Jack Nicklaus ‘not interested at all’ in watching Woods comeback

5. He’s Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer

Woods jokes with Arnold Palmer after winning yet another Bay Hill Invitational

He’s got 79 PGA-Tour victories, 18 WGC titles and, most notably, 14 majors. He’s hit golf shots 99% of professionals can only dream of and has won the US Open playing basically with only one leg. After Jack Nicklaus, he’s statistically the 2nd greatest player of all time, and many would say that’s being stingy. He’s Tiger Woods. For this if for no other reason, he’s going to win again.

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