Date: November 11, 2011
Author: John Greco, Sportal

Woods can go lower

Clubhouse leader Tiger Woods has fired an ominous warning to the chasing pack at the Emirates Australian Open, saying he has played far better than is 36-hole score suggests. Woods, who hasn&apost won a tournament since the 2009 Australian Masters, leads a world-class field at The Lakes after he produced a sizzling round of five under 67. The 35-year-old, who started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jarrod Lyle, made the most of the benign conditions in the morning, sinking five birdies on his first nine holes to surge to the outright lead. Woods then had two bogeys and two more birdies on the way home to finish the round at nine under for the tournament to be one shot clear of Lakes member Peter O&aposMalley. Despite being delighted to be back atop a leaderboard again, Woods feels his lead could have been a lot more comfortable. “Basically I felt that I never really missed a shot. Even though I shot five under today it felt like it could easily been eight or nine deep,” the American said. “I could have been a little lower on my first nine holes. I parred a couple of the par fives.” “It feels good that I am there playing properly. It’s not like I am slashing it all over the place.” “I am hitting the ball well. I have just hit so many lips these first two days.” “It could have been pretty low these first two days.” While stopping short of declaring he was fully back to his best, Woods said he is finally starting to feel comfortable with his swing he has been working on with coach Sean Foley over the last 15 months. Woods has managed just nine events in 2011 as he battled a mixture of knee and achilles injuries. But after finally getting on top of his fitness concerns, Woods said the opportunity to devote more time on the practice range is the key to his improvement. Asked the difference in his swing now to earlier in the year, he said: “Jeez, there is so much difference.” “If you look on the video, it is way different. Starting from the grip and the posture, to the takeaway, the clubface, arm angles. It is so different.” “I was closer to what I have (found this week) at Augusta but it still wasn&apost there. I still did not quite grasp the concept of what he (Foley) was trying to get (me to do).” “It was just patchwork. We found a swing thought that worked but that does not fly. I have to understand this motion. It is taking the time and practice to get it.” Many experts have written Woods off ever rediscovering his best form and winning another Major since his rapid drop down the rankings over the last few months. When asked if that type of talk was acting as motivation, Woods declared: “My whole goal is to win golf tournaments.” “That&aposs it If it happens, it happens, but that is not my goal.” “My goal is to win golf tournaments and play to the satisfaction of myself and my family. That, to me, is what it is all about.” While Woods wasn&apost ready to declare he had his mojo back after two solid rounds in Sydney, playing partner Jason Day was certainly prepared to talk up the 14-time Major winner. “He wasn&apost playing that great a couple of months ago but he&aposs certainly turned it around,” Day, who fired a four under 68 on Friday to sit in third place at seven under, said. “Tiger&aposs known for shoving stuff down people&aposs throats, he&aposs certainly doing that now and he&aposs doing a really good job.” “I like the way he&aposs playing. …everything is starting to patch together.”