“I had a few issues going on physically there,” Woods said of last year. “I was wondering whether I should have played, and because this is a big event, I tried to tee it up and it didn’t work out. But it’s nice to actually be healthy again and do all my training and everything I need to do to get ready to play. That’s something that I could not do at the time.”
He had a little extra time to work on his game after missing the cut at Quail Hollow by one shot.
Woods tried to explain why his game can be up-and-down _ a winner one tournament, a weekend off at another tournament _ by saying that his new move is still uncomfortable, and that when he feels comfortable over the ball, it often results in old swing patterns.
He said this was nothing new, either.
Woods said it took nearly two years for the overhaul with Harmon to feel natural, and about the same time with an entirely new swing from Hank Haney. He began working with Foley at the 2010 PGA Championship, though he missed nearly four months last year without competition, and it wasn’t until a year after he hired Foley that Woods was able to practice and work out with no restrictions.
“I haven’t been able to put in the time,” he said. “In essence, it takes time. It takes time, takes a lot of reps.”
Even so, he never missed a cut during the heart of the other two swing changes, and he still finished in the top 10 more often than he didn’t.
He is older this time around, having turned 36 during the offseason. He has gone through four knee surgeries. Whether the competition is stronger is difficult to measure, though Alliss on Monday said during his best years, Woods was “Gulliver in a land of Lilliputians.”
Rory McIlroy returned to No. 1 in the world with his playoff loss at Quail Hollow to Rickie Fowler. Both are 23.
Woods is No. 7 in the world, so far back that he most likely couldn’t get to the top unless he won his next three tournaments, concluding with the U.S. Open. With Woods, though, expect anything _ except panic.
“Unfortunately, the last two tournaments I’ve played in weren’t that great,” Woods said. “No big deal. We’ll just continue working and try and put it together this week.”
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