Tiger Woods on comeback progress: ‘I’ve never felt like this before, but this is the new norm’

February 21, 2018

Coming off a missed cut at last week’s Genesis Open, Tiger Woods knows he still has some adjustments to make.

“I wasn’t very good on Friday, and more importantly I didn’t putt very good,” Woods said at his Honda Classic pre-tournament press conference Wednesday. “I got exposed there on the back nine, three three-putts, and so I’ve worked a little bit on my putting since I’ve been home each and every day.”

Dressed in a white-and-grey shirt with matching white hat, Woods took to the microphone after completing his early morning pro-am round (6:45 a.m. tee time) and talked about readjusting to competitive play.

“I’m starting to get that feeling again of playing tournament golf, where each and every shot counts,” he said. “Y’know, I’m looking at where I need to put the golf ball, I’m looking at forecasts — before, you’re at home and y’know who cares where the wind’s coming from, who cares what the forecast is the next couple days, but tournament golf, I’m starting to get into that flow a little bit. I’ve missed it and it’s becoming familiar again.”

Woods, who tees off No. 10 on Thursday at 7:45 a.m. alongside Patton Kizzire and Brandt Snedeker, is making his first appearance at the Honda Classic since 2014. Although he lives in nearby Jupiter, Woods said he hasn’t played PGA National since his last tournament round, and didn’t play practice rounds Monday or Tuesday.

“I’m still learning. Probably the thing is I’m so happy I’m not in pain any more, but I’m still learning that I’m stiffer than I used to be,” he said. “I can’t create the same angles that I used to be able to create naturally. Obviously I’m fused, so it’s a little bit different and I’m still learning what that feels like under the gun. Some of the shots I like to play, they’re not the same as they used to be. And that part I’m gonna have to learn. It’s not something that I’m used to because I’ve never felt like this before, but this is the new norm.”

And make no mistake about it: Woods still has his eye firmly fixed on Augusta National.

“I’m looking forward to April, I’m trying to get my game solid for April and I’ve got some work to do,” he said. “It’s tournament reps. And I need tournament reps.”