Tiger Woods happy with his improvement ahead of Quicken Loans National

Tiger Woods believes his game is improving all the time as he heads into the Quicken Loans National this week.

The 14-time major winner has come close to a title on a couple of occasions this season, but has been held back by a lack of consistency in his overall game.

Heading into The National, where Woods is hosting, he believes that if he can bring his long and short game together he’ll have a chance of ending his five-year wait for victory.

“I’m pretty excited the way I’ve hit the golf ball,” he said. “I’ve done some things I haven’t done in over a decade!

“If I can have that same putting stroke I had earlier in the year, with the ball striking I have, that’s where I want to get to. I’ve just got to put both of those things together at the same time.”

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Woods, who has been a regular again on the PGA Tour in 2018 after his recovery from a back injury, is among the favourites for victory this week. He insists, however, that he’s just happy to be back competing.

When asked to rate his comeback so far, he said: “I’m not going to give you a letter grade on it but I will say I’m blessed and thankful. It’s basically a gift to be able to play again.

“At this particular time [last year] I didn’t know. I wasn’t allowed to putt yet or swing a club. My back was not fused and there was no guarantee I’d play golf, forget the PGA Tour.

“So to go from that to here and be able to build a golf swing around something that’s never been done before, I didn’t see that happening. Now I’m competing, playing and having a great time doing it.”

Woods has played in more tournaments than expected so far, and his schedule is unlikely to lighten with two more majors and the Ryder Cup to come in the next few months.

And he’s aware he’ll have to manage his workload as he continues his comeback.

“I don’t want to play too much with the injury and procedure I’ve had, but I need to play enough,” he said. “I’ve got a game now that can play so it’s a matter of pacing myself through.

“There’s a lot of golf coming up and hopefully I can pace myself to stay strong and fresh enough to play quite a few tournaments.”