Sunday 25 August 2019

Tiger shrugs off 'worst start' as he looks to Augusta

Tiger Woods tees off on the 8th hole during the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic
Tiger Woods tees off on the 8th hole during the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic

Karl MacGinty

JUST two tournaments into the new season and Tiger Woods has already been tagged with his "worst start in 18 years as a professional".

Yet Woods himself wasn't perturbed by his setbacks at the Farmers Insurance Open or the Dubai Desert Classic.

Okay, he drove into the desert so much over the first two days in Dubai, one writer suggested Woods should've hired a camel instead of a caddie.

And on Sunday, Sky Sports analyst Ewen Murray even described Tiger as "the worst I've seen him technically."

Yet Woods was happy with "a little bit of a fix" made on Friday night.

It was "something very simple" with the grip but "unfortunately I turned it around too late" to contend.

A comment that afternoon confirmed that Tiger is concentrating on the bigger picture.

"I took a long break (over the winter) and didn't really do anything much. Just tried to get my body organised and that part has materialised, which is nice," he revealed.

After concentrating almost entirely on the gym, not his golf game, why is anyone surprised that he's rusty?

Forget these early-season skirmishes. Tiger, who was paid a reported $2m to play in Dubai and flew to India yesterday on another $2m-plus junket, is focused on the Masters.

And history will be made at April's first Major of the year in Augusta.

Kevin Stadler (33) beat Bubba Watson and Graham DeLaet by one shot to claim his maiden PGA Tour victory at Sunday's Phoenix Open and qualify for the Masters, ensuring he and dad Craig (60), winner of the Green Jacket in 1982, will be the first father and son to tee it up in the same Masters tournament.

Irish Independent

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