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Michael Taylor 8th Sep 2010 - 14:44

Tiger on the prowl at the BMW

Finally things are looking brighter for Tiger Woods.

A respectable tie for eleventh at the Deutsche Bank Championship was followed by a call up to Corey Pavin's Ryder Cup team and now he heads into the third Tour Playoff with a seemingly great chance of landing a first title in 2010.

For a man who has turned from hero to zero over the past year any glimmer of hope is welcome and if anybody can exploit the conditions around Cog Hill it's Tiger.

First and foremost Woods is a four time winner on the track, including claiming top prize in this event last year - the remaining tournament he can claim to be current champion of.

If any course played into his hands it's this one, with accuracy almost a second thought behind such qualities as distance off the tee and short game.

And it's his short game that could be the difference between yet another middle of the pack finish and making headlines on the back pages rather than the front pages for a change.

His backers couldn't help but notice the improvement around the greens at the TPC Boston as he displayed many of the touches of brilliance that singled him out as the greatest golfer of this generation.

So while he still hasn't removed the waywardness that's so severely hampered him over the last year, it appears he can now cut out costly bogies or worse through scrambling - this is the big reason he dropped just seven shots in Boston.

It all goes to say that there's little surprise he returns to the position of big favourite this week rather than the mild favourite or second favourite positions he's occupied recently, and even though he's not lit it up yet I honestly think he will this week.

I'm sure some people will think 6/1 is too short but with his course form, and on the back of his most positive week in ages I'm thinking it's easily backable.

If I'm wrong though there are a few others who I fancy can set the pace in Illinois.

Most notably Matt Kuchar has to be fancied to keep his brilliant FedEx Cup run going after nailing The Barclays for his first Tour title of 2010.

The big American leads the standings and his only issue right now is why he shot +1 over the weekend at the Deutsche Bank Championship - still good enough for a tied eleventh finish.

His putter remains the hottest property in golf, he has enough power to make Cog Hill look short, it's a case of improving his accuracy and then wait for the birdies to mount up.

To be honest there isn't much you can say about Kuchar that hasn't been said a million times already over the last few months other than he seemingly becomes more composed and competitive week on week.

If he can regroup from a disappointing weekend in time then he's amazing value at 20/1 and even if he isn't perfect on Thursday he should guarantee you a great run for your money.

Finally, the last one I'll be watching out for is shock Ryder Cup inclusion Rickie Fowler as he aims to show why Corey Pavin has so much faith in him.

Fowler has been a little bit hit and miss over the last few months with two missed cuts and a best of tied fourteenth representing his achievements since the start of July.

However he has talent in abundance and knows when to turn it on.

On his day he's as good as anybody at playing and beating the percentages with a great eye for sniffing out unlikely birdie and eagle opportunities where others may struggle - in many ways he's a less polished Rory McIlroy in this aspect.

The real reason I like him at 66/1 though is his ability to thrive under pressure.

The cameras followed him everywhere at the start of the season and he gave them a show everytime, producing his best results on these occasions and this week should be a similar situation after his Ryder Cup call up.

It's now up to him to show his dress sense isn't a gimmick and that it's his classy golf that separates him from the also rans.


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