Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Tiger Woods: The putting feels so much better as I feel better

Tiger Woods: The putting feels so much better as I feel better

In preparation for his bid to land a third Sawgrass success, Woods spent some time earlier in the week working with a putting guru, Matt Killen.

PONTE VEDRA ― Tiger Woods waited until the last day to commit to last year's Valspar Championship.

Woods always planned to contest six US PGA Tour events - including this week's elite Players Championship - between January and the Masters but skipping the Palmer event means he will likely play five.

The 43-year-old set off the alarm bells when he withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which he has won eight times.

Last year's victor Webb Simpson - who will play with Woods in rounds one and two - is at 40/1. "But also, I've cost myself a few years here and there because of it".

With 600 FedEx Cup points available at the Players Championship - most tournaments have 500 on the line - it's an opportunity to shoot up the standings.

But his last back surgery, a spinal fusion in 2017, worked, and Woods enjoyed a resurgence in 2018.

When Woods is putting well he likes to feel the toe of the putter release through the ball, something he says is more reminiscent of Ben Crenshaw or Bobby Locke than numerous players on tour today.

Dustin Johnson, United States - DJ is rested coming off his victory in the WGC Mexico after also winning the Saudi International last month, and has regained the world No. 1 ranking. That's just because my lower back is fused and so the stress has to go somewhere if I don't have movement.

Woods did not want to commit to a pre-Masters schedule until after The Players was over. Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have proved this year that older golfers can still compete, and win, but there's a reason the oldest major victor in history remains Julius Boros at 48.

This is Woods' 18th start in The Players. Before you lock in your 2019 Players Championship picks or enter a PGA DFS tournament on sites like FanDuel and DraftKings, be sure to see the PGA Tournament predictions from SportsLine's proven computer model.

To illustrate the distance difference, Woods noted that a year ago he hit a three-iron and a nine-iron to reach the 18th green on Sunday. "And if you can play that hole in 16 for the week, you're going to be picking up a lot of shots on the field".

"My big concern was if I got them, how long would it last?"

"My finishes are getting a little bit better each and every time I've gone out so far this year, and I've gotten a little bit more consistent with my play. So, I've tried to play more in the conservative side to try and put it in play, even though I'm a little further back". The only other cut he missed since then was the U.S. Open.

That's because the tournament, which annually features the best field of the season on the PGA Tour, has moved back from May to its original playing date in March and Pete Dye's classic course figures to play much differently.

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