Tiger Woods returns to PGA Tour action at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, confident he has solved the ball-striking problems which plagued him at this month’s Masters.
The former world number one failed to break 72 in any of his four rounds at the year’s opening major, completing his worst performance at Augusta National since he turned professional.
He battled his way to a closing two-over-par 74 for a five-over total of 293, ruing his tendency to allow old habits to creep back into a swing he has grooved with coach Sean Foley over the last two years.
“At the Masters, I was kind of struggling with my ball-striking a little bit,” Woods said during a question and answer video session with his fans posted on his website on Monday.
“Sean and I fixed it. It had to do with my posture. My setup wasn’t quite right, as well as my takeaway so we worked on that. I just needed to do hundreds of (repetitions). I’m getting dialed in.”
Woods, a 14-times major champion, took a week off after the April 5-8 Masters and has since spent the past fortnight working on his game.
Asked if he liked his chances of winning a 73rd PGA Tour title in this week’s event at Quail Hollow, he replied: “I feel like I do, yes.
“I feel like if I can do the things that we’ve been working on, and get my posture and my takeaway dialed in, then yes, I have a good chance.
“I’m going to a golf course I like in Charlotte. I’ve won there before. The very next week is a tournament that I’ve also won at,” the 36-year-old American added, referring to the May 10-13 Players Championship at Sawgrass.
Woods triumphed at Quail Hollow in 2007 and won his only Players title in 2001 at the event regarded by many as the unofficial ‘fifth’ major.
Monday’s video session, based on questions sent in by fans via Facebook and Twitter, was an interesting choice by Woods who will not be giving his customary pre-tournament news conference ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship.
The world number seven typically addresses the media before every event in which he plays but is not scheduled to speak to reporters until after he completes Thursday’s opening round at Quail Hollow.
Woods fielded 19 questions from fans in the video session, among them a query as to the best putt he has ever sunk on the PGA Tour.
In reply, he cited the par putt he knocked in from just inside four feet on the 72nd hole of the 1997 Masters, his first major title which he clinched by a staggering 12 strokes with a record low total of 270.
“To set the record, all the history it meant at the time, to have my dad there at the back of the green,” Woods added. “By far it was the biggest.”
As for his favorite major trophy, Woods did not hesitate in selecting the cherished Claret Jug awarded to winners of the British Open.
“The history and what it represents,” he said. “Every single great champion has played in the British Open.”
THIS WEEK IN GOLF
PGA TOUR: WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP
COURSE: Quail Hollow Club (7,469 yards, par 72).
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday, 3-6 p.m., 8:30-11:30 p.m.; Friday, 12:30-3:30 a.m., 3-6 p.m., 8:30-11:30 p.m.; Saturday, 2:30-5:30 a.m., 1-2:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.) and CBS (Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m.).
OH CANADA: Stephen Ames, David Hearn, Mike Weir
NOTES: Tiger Woods, the 2007 winner, is making his first start since the Masters. He tied for 40th at Augusta National, two weeks after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational. ... Phil Mickelson also is making his first start since the Masters. He won at Pebble Beach in February for his 40th PGA Tour title. He tied for third at Augusta National. ...Rory McIlroy won in 2010, finishing with a 10-under 62 to beat Mickelson by four strokes. McIlroy won the Honda Classic in March. ... Hunter Mahan leads the tour with two victories this year, winning the Match Play Championship and Houston Open. ...Graeme McDowell was a late scratch, saying he was feeling "under the weather both physically and with my game".
LPGA TOUR: LPGA BRAZIL CUP
COURSE: Itanhanga Golf Club (6,285 yards, par 73).
OH CANADA: No Canadians entered in this event although Alena Sharp is listed as an alternate
NOTES: Colombia's Mariajo Uribe won the 36-hole exhibition event last year, finishing with a 66 in rainy conditions for a one-stroke victory. ... Suzann Pettersen, Paula Creamer and Anna Nordqvist are headliners at the event. ... Scotland's Catriona Matthew was five months pregnant when she won the inaugural event in 2009.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: INSPERITY CHAMPIONSHIP
COURSE: The Woodlands Country Club (7,002 yards, par 72).
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Friday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12:30-2:30 a.m., 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1-3 a.m., 7-9:30 p.m.; Monday, 1-3 a.m.).
OH CANADA: Jim Rutledge, Rod Spittle
NOTES: Fred Couples won the 2010 tournament. The former University of Houston star played the final eight holes in 7 under, making his second eagle of the round and five birdies. ... Bernhard Langer won the 2007 event at Augusta Pines and successfully defended his title in 2008 at The Woodlands. ... Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Don January, Miller Barber, Gene Littler, David Graham and Dave Stockton will compete Saturday in a Greats of Golf scramble event.
EUROPEAN TOUR: SPANISH OPEN
COURSE: Real Club de Golf de Sevilla (7,134 yards, par 72).
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 7:30-11:30 a.m.).
OH CANADA: None entered
NOTES: Last year, South Africa's Thomas Aiken won at El Prat in Barcelona for his first European Tour title. He dedicated the victory to late Spanish great Seve Ballesteros. ...Alvaro Quiros, the 2010 winner in Seville, is in the field along with fellow Spanish players Miguel Angel Jimenez, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Pablo Larrazabal. Cabrera-Bello won the Dubai Desert Classic in February. ... Jose Maria Olazabal designed the course
NATIONWIDE TOUR: STADION CLASSIC
COURSE: University of Georgia Golf Course (7,253 yards, par 71).
OH CANADA: Stuart Anderson, Brad Fritsch, Adam Hadwin, Matt McQuillan, Richard Scott, Ryan Yip
NOTES: Last year, Georgia senior Russell Henley won by two strokes on the Bulldogs' home course. He's one of three players to win on the tour as an amateur. He returns this year as a professional.
NGA TOUR: KANDY WATERS MEMORIAL CLASSIC
COURSE: Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club, North Augusta, S.C.
OH CANADA: Yohann Benson, Marc-Etienne Bussieres, Matt Hoffman, Eric Ross
eGOLF PROFESSIONAL TOUR: COLUMBIA OPEN
COURSE: Columbia Country Club, Cobblestone Park, Blythewood, S.C.
OH CANADA: Cam Burke, Matt Hill, Roger Sloan, Gavin Smith, Nick Taylor,
SUNCOAST LADIES SERIES
COURSE: LPGA International Champions, Daytona Beach , FL
OH CANADA: Erica Rivard, Christina Foster, Stacey Bieber,
CACTUS TOUR: Orange Tree Golf Resort
OH CANADA: Nicole Zhang,