Monday 18 February 2019

Tiger putting himself in mix

Woods is 'blessed' to be back but he has work to do

Tiger in action during practice round at Bellerive Country Club
Tiger in action during practice round at Bellerive Country Club

Tiger Woods admits he will have plenty of homework to do as he looks to claim a 15th major title in the US PGA Championship.

Woods was among the players due to compete at Bellerive Country Club in 2001 when the WGC-American Express Championship was cancelled due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The 42-year-old also missed the 2008 BMW Championships at the same venue due to injury and was only able to play five holes in practice before his pre-tournament press conference yesterday due to thunderstorms.

"I literally haven't set foot on this golf course since that week in 2001," Woods said. "I didn't get up here pre British Open and yesterday (Monday) I took the day off.


"Today we only got in five holes and didn't really get a chance to see a whole lot, so I'll have to do some more homework tomorrow and get a good feel for what's going on for the rest of the week.

"I needed that day off. I spent a few times in the ice bath just trying to get some inflammation down and just trying to get ready for the rest of the week.

"There's going to be certain days that I'm just not going to have the speed and the flexibility and the movement that I once did. I'm 42 now and I've had four back surgeries. So things are going to be different from day-to-day, and it's just about managing it."

Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery in April last year and admits he feels "blessed" simply to be able to compete again, but has already failed to convert several chances to claim his first victory since 2013.

Most significantly Woods led the Open at Carnoustie with eight holes to play, only to double bogey the 11th and drop another shot on the next as playing partner Francesco Molinari went on to lift the Claret Jug.

"To go from missing the cut in the US Open to contending and at one point leading the Open on the back nine, it felt good. It felt very familiar," Woods added.

"Unfortunately, I made two mistakes there on 11 and 12 and it cost me a chance to win the championship. I felt like I was in control of what I was doing, and that felt good. Unfortunately, I just didn't do it."

Woods and Rory McIlroy will play in the same group as title holder Justin Thomas for the opening two rounds. McIlroy sealed PGA wins in 2012 and 2014.

Meanwhile, viewers interested in watching the event have reacted with a mixture of frustration, bemusement and dismay on social media as host broadcaster Eleven Sports was slow to advertise its coverage or reveal details on how to watch - and then asked those who want to sign up for credit card details, despite the action being billed as "free".

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