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That was his last win overseas.

Whether it’s due to injuries, issues in his personal life or simply a record that balances out over time, Woods has gone eight straight international events without winning.

His tie for 41st in the Dubai Desert Classic was his worst finish in seven appearances. In his previous overseas event, Woods missed the cut in Abu Dhabi.


OUT OF HIS GROOVE: Padraig Harrington, who always seems to be tinkering with his swing, attributes his victory drought to the change away from square grooves that began in 2010. His last official win was the Iskandar Johor Open on the Asian Tour at the end of that year.

“I have been trying to deal with that for a few years now, and it makes a big difference to my game, no doubt about it,” Harrington said.

Harrington said when the square (or box) grooves were allowed, he often had a mixed bag of clubs depending on the course conditions.

“I used to carry two sets of clubs to every event. I don’t think anybody else did that,” he said last week at the Phoenix Open. “Depending on the length of the rough, sometimes you want the ball to come out spinning, sometimes you want the flier.”

He said he used the V-grooves (less spin) at the U.S. Open because of the rough. And here’s another calculation - if a course had trees lining the fairways, he would not use the square grooves because the ball tended to come out lower and could not get over the trees.

“I might have a box-groove 7-iron, a V-groove 8-iron, box-groove 9-iron, all sorts of different combinations,” he said. “That changes.”

The most difficult part for Harrington has been with pitch shots. He said he has struggled to find consistency with the required V-grooves.

“With the old grooves, everything came out low and spinning,” he said. “So it was a big advantage to me to be able to work it like that.”


PEREZ ON WHEELS: Pat Perez commuted to the Phoenix Open in a mini-car that doubles as a golf cart - a golf cart that can go 80 mph.

“It’s a Toyota Scion iQ,” Perez said. “And if you saw one go down the street, you would laugh. But my buddy down here, Jay Francis, owns a dealership, made that thing, and it’s like driving a UFO. You cannot believe the attention that thing gets. … You see this thing go by, they don’t know what it is. It’s so cool. It’s so fun to drive.”

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