AKRON, Ohio – Tiger Woods often refers to his swing changes and return from injury as a “process” – and that may be the best way to assess his first 72-hole competitive event since April.
Woods posted rounds of 68-71-72-70 to finish right in the middle of the pack in the 76-man field at this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, a tournament he had won seven times in 11 previous starts.
“I had it in spurts this week. I hit it really well and then I'd lose it and get it back,” he said after the final round. “Today was a good example of that. I hit it well starting out, then completely lost it there, and tried to piece it back together at the end.”
For the week, Woods hit just 22 of 56 fairways (39.3 percent), ranking dead last in the field. His iron play was solid throughout, placing T-26 in greens in regulation at 65.3 percent and his putting ranked in the bottom half, at 29.25 strokes per round.
Perhaps the most head-scratching statistic came from the hole-by-hole breakdown. While he played the four par-3 holes in 5 under and the two par-5 holes in 3 under, he recorded an overall score of 9 over on the par-4s.
“I just keep plodding along,” Woods explained. “You have to understand, I'm fresh. I haven't played. So it's nice for me to get out there in this competitive atmosphere no matter how I was playing just to figure out how to score, because I haven't been forced to score. At home playing money games with my buddies is just not quite the same. Being out here and being forced to have to post a score, hit shots, that's a different deal.”
Perhaps the biggest positive he can take from the week is that his previous leg injuries failed to bother him.
“It feels great,” he maintained. “It's a different kind of feeling.”