February 22 2011
MARANA, Ariz. -- If the winds kick up this week at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, Tiger Woods will be ready.
In his last start, Woods finished tied for 20th at the Dubai Desert Classic, shooting a disappointing 72-75 on the weekend. He blamed the poor performance on the limitations of his shot selections in high winds -- a by-product of his swing changes.
So he retreated to the practice range to work with swing coach Sean Foley. He now feels better prepared should he need to call upon those shots this week at Dove Mountain.
"I got exposed; I was limited in the shot selections I could hit," Woods said Tuesday. "When the wind didn't blow, I went low.
"Sean and I worked on that in the last week and that was good. ... I didn't quite have the understanding of how to hit all the shots in the wind. You know, that takes time. We finally put it together.
"Now I just need to keep working on it and keep heading down this path."
The weather forecast this week calls for generally mild winds for the first few days, but winds up to 20 mph for the semifinals and finals on Sunday.
Woods would love to make it that far. He hasn't won a TOUR event since the 2009 BMW Championship and getting to the final day might be just the kind of emotional juice he needs to end the drought.
He certainly enjoys this format. He's won the Accenture Match Play three times (2003, 2004, 2008) and has a 32-7 match record. Last year, he missed this event for the first time since 2001.
"It's a great event," Woods said. "We don't get a chance to play too many match play events. We play stroke play all the time. The only time you get a match play event is if you make the team Ryder Cups or Presidents Cups.
"...Junior golf and all big amateur events were all match play. It goes back to how we grew up. We love it as players. It is fun to go head-to-head."
Woods, the No. 1 seed in the Sam Snead bracket, will face Thomas Bjorn in the first round. The Dane won the Qatar Masters by four shots earlier this year. That match tees off at 1:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday. – Mike McAllister