ORLANDO – Tiger Woods at all times makes the putt on 18.
That’s what Justin Rose mentioned after Woods’ birdie putt on the final Saturday, and Woods did it once more Sunday from 12 toes, albeit for par.
Woods shot Three-under 69 within the ultimate spherical of the Arnold Palmer Invitational to complete T-5 at 10 underneath 278.
Subsequent cease, Augusta Nationwide.
“I miss enjoying there,” Woods mentioned. “I’ve had plenty of success there, too, so actually wanting ahead to getting up there and doing a bit of labor and getting a really feel for the golf course and mainly a really feel for taking part in that type of golf once more.”
For a very long time, the dialogue was that Woods at all times used to make the putt on 18. We’re talking about his recreation within the current tense once more, and his possibilities to win the Masters after one other top-10 end and one other Sunday in rivalry at Bay Hill.
Woods started the ultimate spherical 5 photographs off the lead and made a short however spirited cost with three birdies in 4 holes to begin the again 9.
“I wanted to maintain making birdies and also you noticed I used to be fairly aggressive on a lot of the putts just about all day,” Woods mentioned. “I simply needed to take an opportunity. I needed to take a run at it. I figured a low one was what I wanted, and the extra I seemed on the boards, these guys saved going. … I believed I’ve simply acquired to maintain making birdies, no matter I must do, simply be aggressive, hearth in any respect flags, and take a run in any respect the putts and see what occurs.”
“He’s one again, child!” somebody with distinctive mobile service shouted when Woods acquired to the 14th gap, followers chanting his title so loudly that eventual winner Rory McIlroy needed to again off his putt on the 11th inexperienced.
“Folks across the inexperienced on 11 retaliated with a Rory chant,” McIlroy mentioned. “Wasn’t fairly as loud. … I knew at that time he was making a run.”
The run ended when Woods’ tee shot went out of bounds on the par-5 16th. He made bogey there and at 17 to finish what had been a significantly spectacular and aggressive spherical on a low word.
“Scientific ballstriking,” caddie Joe LaCava mentioned.
5 tournaments doesn’t seem to be plenty of time to organize for the primary main of the 12 months. The wrap-around schedule means most guys on Tour are by no means actually off form. They won’t be as sharp as they’d like, however they don’t should re-learn a complete lot when the calendar turns.
Woods primarily had been out of aggressive golf for 3 years. He needed to re-learn every little thing. A T-23 end in his first Tour begin on the Farmers Insurance coverage Open ought to have been a great clue that he wasn’t coming again for a fast victory lap.
A final-resort spinal fusion surgical procedure a 12 months in the past appears to have solved the bodily points that plagued him for years. He ranked sixth within the subject in driving distance at Bay Hill. Much more telling heading into Augusta was a brief recreation that has eluded him ever since he was Participant of the Yr in 2013. Woods completed second in strokes gained: around-the-green and eighth in strokes gained: placing.
Distance off the tee, ballstriking and a stable brief recreation? That’s a stable basis Woods was capable of construct in such a brief time frame forward of the Masters. The subsequent step is familiarizing himself with Augusta Nationwide once more after two years off.
Woods plans to get some severe work finished there over the following three weeks, with a number of follow rounds. He’ll check out potential gear setups and make a couple of swing tweaks. And he’ll see if every little thing he is aware of about these greens nonetheless holds true.
“I’ve acquired to see if my e-book is any good,” Woods mentioned. “I’ve a e-book from three years in the past, however I believe they could have resurfaced three of the greens because the final time I performed. I need to go up there and ensure after which check out all my reads on putts and see in the event that they match my e-book, and in the event that they’re not, then clearly I’ve acquired to erase and draw some extra strains.”
Bay Hill concluded a stretch of 4 tournaments in 5 weeks for Woods, and bodily he claims to really feel nice at age 42. He’s examined the again on exhausting swings from thick tough and thus far, so good. The idea is his again will proceed to carry, however there aren’t any ensures.
As Woods reminded everybody Sunday, that is unprecedented territory.
“I don’t know anybody who has had a decrease again fusion … who can go north of 120 miles an hour (swing velocity),” Woods mentioned. “So there’s actually nobody I can go to on one thing like this. I’m very younger to have this surgical procedure. The common age is 58, and I used to be fairly younger at 41. So I had to do that on really feel and nonetheless am.”
Nobody he can go to for recommendation. Nobody who can relate to how he’s feeling. This may’t be the primary time Woods has felt that means. His rise to fame at such a younger age, with a lot media consideration, got here with plenty of baggage. Probably the most beloved participant on the planet should have felt very alone at occasions.
Perhaps that’s why Woods goes at this newest comeback alone, at the least so far as his swing goes. That was probably the most attention-grabbing factor we realized from Woods this week at Bay Hill. He’s gone again to his a few of his earliest swing ideas, and he’s beginning to appear to be a a lot earlier model of himself.
“The excellent news is I’m trusting my palms. My palms are telling me what to do,” Woods mentioned. “It’s identical to baseball, you’re within the field and also you simply belief your palms. That’s how I grew up enjoying and it’s what I’m doing proper now.”
It appears after so a few years of turmoil and setbacks, Woods is lastly free. Free to swing how he needs. Free to place the previous prior to now and compete once more, like solely he is aware of how.
There was just one query coming into the week at Bay Hill, and Woods answered it.
He’ll be prepared for the Masters. The one query now’s whether or not or not he can end in a well-recognized spot – alone on high. Gwk