PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - By now, players are used to the different vibe when Tiger Woods isn’t around.
Woods missed the last two majors in 2008 and the middle two majors in 2011 because of injuries. With back problems this year, he missed his title defense at Bay Hill and missed the Masters for the first time in his career. The Players Championship is the second title defense that Woods is missing as he recovers from surgery.
“There’s no doubt he plays a huge impact on the feel of a golf tournament,” Adam Scott said. “He is obviously the No. 1 player in the world and one of sport’s biggest people in the world. So the attention he draws is massive, from gallery to media. So it’s obvious when he’s not around, I think.”
Does that mean it’s easier to win?
That hasn’t been the case this year. Of the top 10 players in the world, only Masters champion Bubba Watson (No. 4), Matt Kuchar (No. 5) and Jason Day (No. 6) have won tournaments.
“I think that there are so many guys winning events now that you’ve got to look past just No. 1,” Scott said. “He won five times last year and that’s a lot, so obviously in a way it’s one contender that you don’t have to deal with. But the list is long here this week and other guys are going to play great.
“I don’t see it as being as simple as the field versus Tiger.”
MASTERS REVIEW: A pair of Masters rookies played in the same group and got far different results. Patrick Reed missed the cut, while Jordan Spieth had a share of the 54-hole lead and tied for second behind Bubba Watson.
The difference? Reed said Spieth did a better job preparing.
“I hit the ball - I felt like - closer than him all week,” Reed said. “The problem is I was leaving myself above the hole, he was leaving himself below the hole. The first time I played that golf course was Saturday before Augusta. I’ve played it three times as an amateur in college, but every time I played was like in February. It was a completely different golf course and I felt like it was just one of those things I needed to prepare myself better on my note-taking on the golf course.
“I know what to do now.”
Reed is a newcomer to The Players Championship. He said he received a lot of advice when he was home last week from Lee Trevino, who encouraged him to play to the right angles because of the multiple doglegs.
“That’s just one of those things I’ve gotten focused on, and hopefully at the end of the week it works out,” he said.