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Tiger's 'process' continues with confidence

Tiger Woods
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SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Minutes after Tiger Woods walked off the final green at CordeValle in the Wednesday pro-am at the Open, the former world No. 1 spoke a profound truth about the game.

'It's easy to come back from a layoff when you know what to do,' he said.

Woods was referring specifically to his golf swing, but is certainly applicable to his entire professional life. The world No. 51 is playing in the Fall Series for the first time in five years – at the behest of Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples, to live up to a promise made to commissioner Tim Finchem and for the well-being of his game.

The 14-time major winner competed in the practice round with an unfortunately familiar form, hooking a few drives, rinsing his ball in back-nine hazards and, on the final two holes, missing birdie putts after perfect drives and approaches to within 10 feet. It was not an impressive show for the approximately 250 people following Woods around the San Martin track, but it was not dejecting.

As has become custom, Woods was asked about his expectations for the week – both where he would like to finish on the leaderboard and the progress he would like to make with his swing.

Woods offered the standard goal of winning – 'getting the W,' in his vernacular – but said the foundation work between he and instructor Sean Foley is finished.

'The major overhauls are done,' he said. 'Now, it's fine tuning it.'

'We're working on the same exact stuff as April,' Woods added. That work includes playing 36 or 45 holes per day at Medalist Country Club near his new Jupiter Island, Fla., home. A much publicized, course-record 62 at the club during one of those lengthy practice sessions was not a mere formality for Woods. It was a confidence booster.

'I hadn't posted a low round in a long time,' he said. 'So that's something that felt good to do, and to be honest with you, it was pretty easy and I left a few out there.'

It was important for Woods to go low in practice, particularly to get close to the level where he was while making the front-nine charge on Sunday at the Masters.

'I was on the cusp of getting it [at the Masters],' he said. 'It was excited because it was coming quickly.'

Coming back from an injury to his left knee and Achilles suffered in the third round at Augusta National, Woods said that momentum was taken from him.

'I had one good range session at The Players,' Woods said candidly. 'When I came back, I didn't have it.'

The swing has made progress since May, he added, but he is working with a new caddie this week in Joe LaCava. Woods admits this event is the start of an adjustment period for them both.

'He's going to have to get an understanding of what I like to hit, what clubs I like to favor, do I like to hit one hard or do I want to take something off of it,' he explained. 'These are things he's going to have to learn, but that just takes time.'

Like so much in Woods' life and career these last two years, the Open will be another step in the process.Enter article content here..