Golf fans would be hard-pressed to avoid the countless stories recounting in minute detail the intricate swing changes Tiger Woods is making under Sean Foley’s tutelage. After all the hot air pundits have expended on the subject, wouldn’t it be something if golf’s No. 5 were able to capture his first victory in 16 months by reverting to the putting stroke his father taught him back in the day?
If he wins this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, Tiger may indeed have his late father to thank for helping him, once again, lift a trophy at the end of a golf tournament.
“I went back to all of my old stuff that my dad and I used to work on,” Woods told reporters Wednesday at Bay Hill Club & Lodge. “And that’s when I felt that my stroke started becoming more sound, more solid, my speed became better.”
Playing the first two rounds Thursday and Friday with the big-hitting Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland, Woods conceded the long game to the 20-somethings. “I’ll definitely be hitting first from the fairway all day tomorrow with Dustin and Woodland in the group,” Woods tweeted to his 672,000 Twitter followers Wednesday afternoon.
That means Woods — who said he had become a “streaky putter” over the past few years by not practicing enough with his flat stick — will have to make up ground with his short game and on the green.
“I took for granted my putting, and didn’t really spend a lot of time doing it,” Woods said. “I was expecting to go out there and putt well every day. I’ve got to log in the hours, so I went back to doing that and this year I’ve putted much better.”
Indeed, as Woods pointed out, he had carded only one three-putt in his three events so far this season. He also needed just 25 putts in the final round at Doral’s TPC Blue Monster two weeks ago. Compare that to his 101st ranking this year in both average putts per round and, according to PGATour.com’s Brian Wacker, putts made from no more than five feet, and perhaps Tiger — with the help of his dad — has figured out how to fix his short-club woes.
“I don’t know what that dude saw in my game,” Woods said, “but he really knew putting and he knew my stroke. My dad really knew my stroke.”