TIGER IS BACK. TIGER IS DONE. WAIT. TIGER IS BACK…AGAIN. I had some fun trolling tweeps last weekend with blanket hyperbolic statements like those depending on how Tiger Woods was playing during the Quicken Loans National. It’s just too easy! #sorrynotsorry
Well, save for his third-round 74, Woods had a solid week at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, posting three rounds in the 60s en route to a T18 finish — almost tying for his best of the year (T17 at the Masters!).
Tiger feels like he made loads of progress.
“This is much better, much, much, much better to have a round like today and basically yesterday,” said Woods after posting a 68 in the final round Sunday. “Even though I struggled as bad as I did, you know, one thing has been missing, I’ve been trying to explain to everyone, trying to make an up and down here and there, scramble and turn a round to be awful into a scoring round.
“The first 7 holes (Saturday) I was sucking all over the place and struggling for par. I had that shot at 8 to turn my whole round around and get it in the right direction. I didn’t do it. But today I did, which was nice. Today I started off well and really hit the ball well and I looked at the whole week in general. Felt like I made some big strides.”
He also believes the swing changes he’s worked on with Chris Como are coming together.
“I’m getting some speed back, which is nice,” said Woods. “I’m starting to pump the ball out there again and I know my loft of my irons are very weak compared to today’s standards. I’m hitting the ball up there with some of the bigger guys again. I got my speed nice on top of that and the fact I was able to make some putts and the short game becoming good again like it used to be.”
Woods hit this awesome recovery shot with his 5-wood on the 12th hole on Sunday, which is definitely worth the watch:
Even with Woods’ second-best finish of the year, he’s not close to cracking the top 125 in FedEx Cup points and qualifying for the season-ending playoffs. He did move from 197th to 185th following Sunday’s performance. (BTW, this is kind of sad that we’re super excited because TW placed in the top 20 at a run-of-the-mill Tour event.) He will need a win or at least a top three in his next start at the PGA Championship to advance to the Tour playoffs.
Woods was not eligible for this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he’s only won eight times. You can tell that he hasn’t been pleased with the qualification standards, but hey, it’s based on world rankings, and you know what they say…PLAY BETTER.
“I’m not playing Reno this week or Bridgestone, which is kind of interesting because I’ve won Bridgestone, what, eight times and I’m not eligible,” said Woods on Monday at media day for the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second leg of the FEC Playoffs, where the proceeds benefit his foundation.
Tiger’s schedule and whether or not he’ll play the regular-season ending Wyndham Championship will depend on his finish at Whistling Straits.
“Playing well in the PGA (Championship), that determines whether or not I’ll play Wyndham, and obviously the rest of the FedExCup Playoffs,” he said.
Added Woods when asked again about his scheduling: “A lot of it is dependent on what I do with the PGA and whether or not I have a chance to make the Playoffs. I need to obviously play well at the PGA to get myself to move up in points and then give myself an opportunity to get into the Playoffs. Right now I’m so far off that I need to have a really high finish, and nothing higher than winning my fifth PGA would be nice.”
Woods, who appeared to be in good spirits Monday, spoke candidly about his recent struggles, particularly when it comes to taking his swing from the practice range to competition.
“I’m starting to put this all together, and it’s taking some time,” said Tiger. “I’m starting to get the feel for what Chris (Como) and I are implementing. I’m starting to get the understanding of how to hit those shots in tournament situations.
“Hey, we can all be Ranger Rick and hit golf good shots on the range, but to carry it to the golf course and a golf tournament is another story, and I’m finally able to start doing that now. I know I struggled on Saturday, but I think the one thing that’s been missing in my game is I’ve been able to have stretches where I’ve hit it really well, but the stretches where I haven’t hit it well, I haven’t been able to score.
“I slapped it all over the place on Saturday for the first seven holes. I hit it in places that you needed some kind of GPS beacon to find my golf ball. But I was somehow able to shoot even par through those seven holes and scramble and score, and it’s something that’s been missing in my game. But now I got to the 8th hole, hit it in the middle of the fairway and had an opportunity to make birdie there and turn it around and get to 9‑under par, that would have put me five back of the lead and get things rolling.
“Even though I didn’t pull it off, but the fact that I was able to pull it off the first seven holes gives me a ton of confidence, hence I went out there on Sunday and I was 5‑under through 10, missed a little shorty at 11, made a mistake at 12 but got it back and birdied 16. Ended up shooting 3‑under par. There were a lot of positives last week, and just need to keep building and keep progressing.”
I enjoyed the “GPS beacon” line — good one, Tiger!
More good news for Woods: he actually improved his world ranking for the first time in forever and jumped four spots to no. 262.
And it gets even better: The PGA Tour granted Tiger a sponsor exemption into his own exhibition, the Hero World Challenge, which Woods hosts and where the proceeds benefit his foundation.
The 18-man field is comprised of the year’s major champions, the top 11 available players in the world rankings, two sponsor exemptions and the defending champion. The Hero World Challenge takes place at Albany in the Bahamas Dec. 3-6. Even though it’s a limited field exhibition, it grants world rankings points and Woods can take as many as those as he can get.
I think that’s all for today. So, any hot takes or predictions for Tiger’s performance at the PGA? Bring it.