Tiger Woods said on Wednesday he still had adjustments to make going into this week’s Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida, where the former world number one will compete in successive weeks for the first time since 2015. Woods did not practise at PGA National this week, opting instead to work on fixing issues that caused him to miss the cut last week at Riviera in his second start of 2018 after a year-long absence during which he had back surgery.
“I wasn’t very good on Friday, and more importantly I didn’t putt very good,” Woods, 42, said after playing in Wednesday’s pro-am competition. “I got exposed there on the back nine — three three-putts — and so I’ve worked a little bit on my putting since I’ve been home each and every day.”
For Woods, this week marks his first start at the Honda Classic, his hometown event, since he withdrew from the final round in 2014 with lower-back problems after shooting five-over through 13 holes. But the 14-times major champion has been pain-free through his first two starts of the season and is enjoying getting back into the groove of competitive play.
“I’m starting to get that feeling again of playing tournament golf, where each and every shot counts,” said Woods. “I’m looking at where I need to put the golf ball, I’m looking at forecasts … Before, you’re at home and who cares where the wind is coming from or what the forecast is the next couple days? But now playing tournament golf, I am starting to get into that flow again.
“I’ve missed it and it’s becoming familiar again.” Woods will play the opening two rounds at PGA National alongside Patton Kizzire, a two-times winner of the PGA Tour this season, and former FedExCup winner Brandt Snedeker. The trio tee off on Thursday at 7:45 a.m. ET (1245 GMT). For Woods, the short-term goal is to get more competitive golf under his belt ahead of the Masters, the year’s first major, which will be played from April 5-8.
“I’m looking forward to April. I’m trying to get my game solid for April and I’ve got some work to do,” said Woods. “It’s tournament reps. And I need tournament reps.”