Woods to Begin Title Defense in Japan


MIYAZAKI, Japan -- After two runner-up finishes, Tiger Woods aims to improve his putting and get back on the winning track by defending his title at the Dunlop Phoenix this weekend.
Woods finished second at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai last week and at the Tour Championship two weeks ago.
Im starting to play a little better, Woods said Wednesday. Last week I hit the ball very well, but just didnt make enough putts. Hopefully with the greens being a little faster here, Ill be able to make the putts this week.
At last years tournament, Woods won his first stroke-play tournament in more than a year after closing with a 3-under 67 on the final day. It marked only his second title of the year.
Woods credited his win at the Masters in Augusta to the confidence he gained by winning this event.
I was able to put together four good rounds here last year, Woods said. And that springboarded me to wins at the Target World Challenge and ultimately the Masters.
This years tournament will feature a stronger field with European money title winner Colin Montgomerie, U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell and Jim Furyk.
Weve got more major champions here, Woods said. This year with the field being so deep, you can expect it will be a lot harder to win.
After Japan, Woods will return to the United States to close out the year with appearances at the PGA Grand Slam in Hawaii, the Skins Game and the Target World Challenge in California.
With six victories, two majors and a revamped swing, Woods is completing one of his best years ever.
I won two majors and challenged in two others, which is the reason I made the changes I did, he said.
On Tuesday, Woods played with Japanese star Ai Miyazato.
Miyazato, who won the Japan Womens Open, is scheduled to become the first Japanese woman to compete in a mens golf tournament next month at the Asia Japan Okinawa Open.
Ai has got a lot of talent, Woods said. Her game is very sound and shes only 20 years old, so it will be very exciting to watch her develop.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Dunlop Phoenix Open
    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.