Tiger Woods optimistic form will return with more tournaments

Tiger Woods remains confident of returning to peak form as he gets more tournament rounds under his belt as he reflected on his early exit at the Genesis Open.

Woods admitted all aspects of his game needed “cleaning up” after he carded a disappointing second-round 76, hitting only four of 14 fairways and also struggling on the greens as he closed on six over par.

The 14-time major champion finished inside the top-25 at last month’s Farmers Insurance Open, the first time he had completed 72 holes in a full-field PGA Tour event since 2015, but his short game was not able to bail him out on day two at Riviera as he littered his card with eight bogeys against three birdies.

But Woods is staying patient in the early stages of his comeback from spinal fusion surgery last year, and he conceded we will not see him at his best until he regains his competitive sharpness.

“I need some tournament rounds,” said Woods as he looked forward to teeing up in next week’s Honda Classic, the first event of the Florida Swing. “I haven’t played golf in years, but I’m starting to come back and it’s going to take a little time. I am progressing, I’m starting to get a feel for tournament golf again. I just need to clean up my rounds.

“It’s nice to be back competing again and to be able to go out there and play, and practice after each round, that has been nice. It’s something I haven’t done in years, so I’ve just got to keep building.”

Asked for his assessment of his performance at Riviera, the 42-year-old added: “I really didn’t play well today. I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, I didn’t feel very good on the greens and consequently, I never made a run. I knew I had to make a run on that back nine, and I went the other way.

“I’m both pleased and also not very happy with some parts of it, but all the spots you’re supposed to not miss it in, I was putting it in. That was frustrating, because I knew where to hit it and I wasn’t able to hit it there.

“My wedge game is fine. But my normal iron shots that I’ve always had dialled in for much of my career, it’s just not there. One of my hallmarks of my whole career is I’ve always hit the ball pin-high with my iron shots, and I have not done that.”

Woods also three-putted three times on the back nine on Friday, and he admitted: “Today was the first day I felt bad with a putter this year. I didn’t feel very good when I was warming up.”

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