Woods signals days of being warm and cuddly Tiger are over
Feb 14, 2018, 18:18
Tiger Woods is returning to the Genesis Open for the first time since 2006 this week, at a venue that played a key role in the 14-time major champion's early career. Watson is worth a play simply based on his history, and it doesn't hurt that we're getting him with +4500 odds.
Should the 42-year-old Woods sit out next week, it would limit the number of tournaments he could play to prepare for the April 5-8 Masters, the year's first major.
Woods, who will be playing alongside Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas for his first two rounds, said he is excited to be paired with those two but admitted that his past experience here counts for nothing given the difference he has noticed on the course, saying the old yardage books are "out the window".
"I'm trying to win a tournament".
During that time away, when even Woods wasn't sure about his future in golf, he became more accessible to players. He was T2 in his first outing here last year, and although this is his first start in the United States of America this year, he's had an encouraging start to the year - finishing T5 in Abu Dhabi before a T32 in Dubai.
The 14-time Major victor (42) was outgunned by seven shots by McIlroy when they were last paired together in the final round of the 2015 Masters.
"It's a good sore, it's just different". Yeah, we still give the needle and we still have a whole bunch of fun. So, the more tournaments he plays, the higher his and everyone else's expectations will elevate.
Thomas and Woods have the same management at Excel Sports.
Since his back is not an issue at this point and he's able to swing harder than he has in several years, Woods said part of solving his problems off the tee is tweaking his driver just a bit. "I just need to get there". The more tournaments I play in, the more I'll be able to get a better understanding of that. Three years later, they were on his private jet flying out to California.
He was self-effacing, too, when playing partner Thomas was mentioned.
A tie for 23rd at the Farmers Insurance Open three weeks ago was a promising start, despite Woods's struggles off the tee at Torrey Pines.
"I love the golf course, I love the layout, it fits my eye, and I play very bad", Woods said with a smile. The greens have gotten more pin locations than I remember.
"I listened", Thomas said.
Thomas recalls a practice round at the Masters a year ago with Phil Mickelson, when the three-time Masters champion left him hanging.
After landing a big-each way return with 200/1 Scott Stallingslast week, I did think about leaving some chips on the table and backing him again here at 100s.
Woods then added, "It would be a great sign if I do play and a smart sign if I didn't play, " joking with reporters about his intentional ambiguity.
"I don't know", he said, "if Tiger is holding back some stuff with me".
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