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Woods in better shape than a year ago
He did well to repair the damage to his reputation, which to that point had been nearly flawless. The next step is his golf, which might be a bit tougher to fix.
And it comes on a big stage.
This World Golf Championship has a 65-man field composed of players who are either in the top 50 in the world ranking or were leaders on the money list from tours around the world. It’s so strong that all but a dozen players are already in the Masters.
There’s no cut, assuring McIlroy his first 72-hole event this year. But he’ll be playing with Woods and Luke Donald, Nos. 1-2-3 in the world. Already this year, McIlroy has missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, lost in the first round of the Match Play Championship and quit after 26 holes of the Honda Classic.
Woods had some sound advice, unrelated to health or frustration with form. It was about the grind of golf.
“We play week after week,” Woods said after nine holes of practice on the Blue Monster. “Once one week ends, you have to move on the next one. And we’re on a different venue and different golf course. For me over the years, I’ve just put it aside and moved on, whether it was good or bad, whether I won the tournament or missed the cut, whatever it may be. You move on and get ready for the next event.”
His year hasn’t been the best, except for the week at Torrey Pines when Woods won his 75th career PGA Tour event. He also missed the cut in Abu Dhabi. He also lost in the first round of Match Play. And while he finished the Honda Classic, he was in the middle of the pack and failed to break par in any round.
But he has his health.
A year after he pulled out of Doral on the last day, Woods sounded as though he were as strong as ever.
“I’m actually able to do everything,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about my Achilles or my knee anymore. I can now actually train instead of rehab. I’ve made some pretty significant gains in my strength and it feels nice to be able to train. … That’s one reason why I’m hitting it farther. I have my legs underneath me and that’s where our power is. It’s nice to be able to have that and I’m moving the ball out there to where I know I can again.”
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