Date: May 07, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Woods still putting game together

Tiger Woods admits he is still trying to put all the pieces of his game together as he continues to return to peak form following knee surgery. The world No.1 returned to the US PGA Tour at the end of February having been out for eight months after undergoing an operation to reconstruct his ruptured left anterior cruciate knee ligament. While he won his third tournament back, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, in March, Woods has so far failed to regain the imperious form which has seen him dominate the game for the last decade. Eclipsed by playing partner and arch-rival Phil Mickelson in the final round of last month&aposs Masters, as Angel Cabrera took the Green Jacket, Woods suffered further disappointment last week at the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte when he failed to build on an opening 65 and slipped to fourth place. Wayward driving has been the chief cause of concern, while putting had been a problem earlier in his comeback at the WGC-CA Championship at Doral. Woods acknowledged last week&aposs performance was a blip as he prepared for this week&aposs Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida – but the 14-time major winner admitted he was still trying to get all the elements of his game together at one tournament. He said: “Last week was different. Last week those greens, it was tough to get the ball close to the hole. “And I played that golf course a little bit different than I would most golf courses, just because of the conditions and where I was in the tournament. You can throw that one out. “And then my tournament prior to that, Augusta, if you&aposre not on, good shots are going to end up in bad places. So it&aposs the last couple of weeks. “But my best ball-striking week so far has been Doral. I hit it great the entire week there. I didn&apost putt, but I hit it [all] week. “I didn&apost hit very good at Bay Hill, but I putted. It&aposs just one of those things where I haven&apost put all the pieces together yet.” Woods has been tinkering with his driver, trying different shafts and lengths before reverting to his tried and tested club off the tee. However, the American is placing more emphasis on being able to practice following his rounds as the path back to form. He continued: “Last week is the first time I&aposve been able to practice after a round. “If you haven&apost been able to practice for a year and a half after a round, it makes things more difficult to get ready for the next day. “But now I&aposll start doing that and start to rectify some of the wrongs for that day and get them right for the next day. And that helps. “There&aposs only so much rehearsing you can do. You do have to hit physical golf shots to feel comfortable and improve and see some things change.” Where his extra work will bear fruit at TPC Sawgrass remains to be seen. Having won the unofficial &aposfifth major&apos here in 2001, Woods has failed to score a top-10 finish since and he missed last year&aposs tournament through the knee injury which kept him on the sidelines between the 2008 Masters and US Open and pre-empted the season-ending surgery. “I haven&apost hit the ball well here,” he said. “I have come into this event and for some reason haven&apost hit it well. “The year I did, the last year I played it, I did, but couldn&apost make a putt. But it&aposs been just kind of typical how this year has been – I haven&apost really put all the pieces together, and you have to have that in order to win this tournament. “It&aposs very similar to a major championship. You have to have all the pieces. You can&apost hit the ball well and not putt well or vice-versa. You have to have everything going together at the same time.”