Tiger Woods in the groove as he plots a path to Augusta

This week’s Zozo Championship will be held on familiar territory for last year’s winner

Tiger Woods believes he is well prepared heading into this week’s Zozo Championship. Photograph: Getty

Tiger Woods believes he is well prepared heading into this week’s Zozo Championship. Photograph: Getty

 

Tiger Woods believes he has ironed out some of the kinks that affected his game at the US Open as he builds towards his defence of the Masters on one of his happiest hunting grounds.

This year’s Zozo Championship has been relocated from its home in Japan to Sherwood Country Club in California — the venue at which Woods hosted his own Hero Challenge for over a decade.

In that time he claimed five victories and five second-placed finishes. Having also won the title last year — a record-equalling 82nd PGA tour crown to take him level with Sam Snead — Woods is very much the man to beat this week.

That is an elevated status for a man whose best finish in four outings since the sport returned from its coronavirus shutdown is a tie for 37th and who missed the cut on the big stage at Winged Foot last month.

Woods, though, insists his form is tracking in the right direction.

“My game’s definitely better than it was at the US Open. I feel a little bit more prepared, a little bit better, and hopefully that translates into playing the golf course,” he said.

“This golf course is typical Jack (Nicklaus). Over the years, my iron game has been one of the stable parts of my game and normally Nicklaus golf courses reward good iron play. And over the course of my entire career, I’ve won on a lot of Nicklaus golf courses because of that.”

Noting the recent redesign at Sherwood, he added that it was likely to be a week of strong scores.

“The shape of the golf course hasn’t changed, but the greens have changed since the last time I played,” he said, quoted on the PGA Tour website.

“Some of the contours are gone and so it’s a bit different. The redo has made this golf course more member-friendly and I think that the scores will be awfully low this week.”

Woods, 44, has his eyes fixed on defending the Masters in November but admits an element of uncertainty in his preparations, given the rejigged calendar.

“I don’t know if I’m going to play Houston (the week before) or not. I’m not playing next week, and we’ll see how this week goes and make a decision from there,” he said.

“The fact that the Masters will be held in November, it’s unprecedented, never been done before. I can’t simulate the normal ramp-up that I normally have, and I don’t think anyone else can either.”

World number one Dustin Johnson will not be among a 78-strong field this week following a positive test for Covid-19, but Woods will be doing battle with 25 of the top 30 players.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.