Tiger Woods looks to improve his short game in search for third title of the year
TIGER Woods will be looking for an improvement in his short game when he returns to action at the AT&T National at Congressional this week seeking his third PGA Tour title of the year.
Host Woods, who won this tournament in 2009, last competed at the US Open earlier this month where, after being joint leader at the midway point, he faded in the final two rounds to finish tied for 21st on seven over par.
The 14-time major winner admitted his short game could have been better at the Olympic Club, saying at his pre-tournament press conference for the AT&T National: "I didn't particularly chip or putt well that week, something that I had done at Memorial. I didn't make anything from 15-20 feet.
"I made a bunch of putts from eight to 10 feet and in, but I didn't make any other putts.
"That week I played very conservative. My game plan worked for the first couple days. I need to hit the ball a little bit closer than I did that week."
Asked about the possibility of using a longer putter, Woods said: "I've tried it, and my stroke is infinitely worse.
"It's just not good. I like the flow of my stroke. I like how I putt. I think I've done all right with mine, and I think I'm going to stick with it."
Woods, who is looking to add to his tournament victories at Bay Hill and Muirfield this year, was victorious at the AT&T National the last time it was played at Congressional three years ago.
The tournament was subsequently switched to Aronimink in Philadelphia as the course was changed in preparation for last year's US Open - an event Woods missed through injury.
"I'm looking forward to it, it's great to be back here Congressional, everyone knows I missed the Open last year and we haven't been back here in a couple of years," said Woods.
"I'm looking forward to getting out there and taking a look at some of the changes they've made.
"Absolutely I want to win."
Woods would move one clear of Jack Nicklaus' career tally of 73 PGA Tour wins with victory in Maryland this week. Sam Snead holds the record with 82.
But he faces stiff competition, with the likes of Hunter Mahan, KJ Choi, Jim Furyk and Ryan Palmer all hoping to be challenging once the tournament gets under way tomorrow.
Mahan has two wins this year and finished last weekend's Travelers Championship with a stunning final-round 61, while Choi won the AT&T National in 2007 and was runner-up behind Nick Watney last year.
Furyk was joint fourth at the US Open while Palmer has recorded four top-10 finishes in his last five starts.
Among the other players taking part are English duo Brian Davis and Greg Owen, Scotland's Martin Laird, South Africans Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini, and Fijian Vijay Singh.