Tiger Woods vows to bounce back from Firestone disappointment at PGA

Tiger Woods admitted he needs to “clean up” his putting as he heads into the final major of the year on the back of a disappointing week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Woods had high hopes of bidding a fond farewell to Firestone Country Club with an unprecedented ninth victory at the Akron venue before the tournament moves to Memphis next year, but a pair of error-strewn 73s over the weekend left him at level par for the week.

The 42-year-old made a bright start to the final round as he birdied the first two holes, but his momentum halted with bogeys at the fourth and sixth and, although he pulled one back at the ninth, he made only one par on the back nine in a colourful card.

Woods made three bogeys and two double-bogeys, including a seven at the 16th when he thinned his second into water, but he did allow himself a wry smile when he holed a 12-foot putt for a closing birdie at the last.

He now has little time to regroup for next week’s PGA Championship at Bellerive, but he remains confident of finding his form in time for a shot at his first major title for over 10 years.

“Things could have certainly gone better, but it is what it is and on to next week,” said Woods. “Today I was just trying to be as aggressive as possible and fire at everything, and it was either going to be 62 or 63 or something in the mid-70s.

“I was just going to be aggressive and see what happens. I was so far back that I had to play a great round just to get in the top 10. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

“I didn’t hit the ball as clean as I wanted to and I only putted well the first day. I struggled hitting the putts hard enough this week. The greens looked faster than they were and I just struggled making that adjustment.

“I hit a few pulls this week and also I hit a few blocks, so I had them both going this week. I didn’t quite hit the ball as clean as I wanted to and I wasn’t as sharp, for sure. The first day, making a bunch of putts helped cover a few things up. But I need to clean things up come Thursday and I’ve got three more days to work on it.”

Woods also reflected on his outstanding record at Firestone, lifting the title eight times after winning the inaugural event in 1999, and he is looking forward to seeing how the over-50s get on when the Senior PGA Championship visits the venue from next season.

“Man, I’m going to miss this place,” he added. “I’m going to miss playing here, I’m going to miss the people. I’ve had so many great memories and it’s just sad that we’re not coming back here anymore.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing here, I loved playing here even when it was the World Series of Golf. Now it’s become a bigger event, but unfortunately, we have to move on.

“The guys that I grew up playing against are going to be playing here next year. We’ll see how they play it.”

World Golf Championships

August 6, 2018, 2:00pm

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