|2014 USGA Events|
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with Phil Sokol
by Kevin Currie
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Follow through on your own words, Tiger
Kevin Currie, Golf Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
In the midst of another major swing change, Tiger Woods has continually preached that it will take more reps until he fully trusts the new swing.
"As I've said, I've been all through this before with my last two instructors, and it will come around," Woods said after struggling to a 75 in the final round in Dubai on Sunday. "I just need more work and more practice."
I understand his point, but at the same time I wonder why he won't increase his schedule to get said reps.
Famous for not announcing his schedule too far in advance, all we know about Woods' upcoming slate is this: he isn't in the field this week for the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. That shouldn't come as a surprise since he hasn't played there since 2005 and has never won there.
If you look at the PGA Tour schedule for the next two months, Woods is likely to play three more times before The Masters. He will be on an every-other-week schedule if he plays those three events.
Following Riviera, the tour is in Arizona for the first World Golf Championship event, the Match Play. If you are looking for tournament reps, like Woods is, the Match Play is a difficult tournament because you could be ousted after one round.
Woods won the Match Play in 2003, '04 and '08, but lost in the second round last year. Two rounds won't cut it during this process for Woods.
The second week in March brings another WGC, the Cadillac Championship at Doral. Woods has made a killing there with six wins and 10 top-10 finishes in the last 12 years.
After another week off, Woods will likely head to Bay Hill for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He has also won that event six times.
Woods will surely be in the field at Augusta for The Masters two weeks after Bay Hill. He is a four-time Masters champion and has finished inside the top six each of the last three years. However, he hasn't won there since 2005, when he beat Chris DiMarco in a playoff.
What about the other three events Woods prior to The Masters? There is a recurring theme that runs through each of them.
Woods has never played The Honda Classic, nor has he ever teed it up at the Transitions Championship or the Shell Houston Open. Though he should play one of them "for the reps," don't look for Woods to start a new trend by playing one of them this year.
"I feel like I can still win golf tournaments," Woods said on Sunday. "I'm not that old. I've still got some years ahead of me."
I agree. I thought he was going to win late last year, but that didn't happen. And, if he continues to have wild swings on his scorecard, he won't win again soon.
In his two events, Woods has been all over the map score-wise. At Torrey Pines, he had 13 birdies and 12 bogeys, tying for 57th in the former and 32nd in the latter.
This past weekend in Dubai, Woods' scores were really up and down. Woods carded 17 birdies, 11 bogeys, three double-bogeys and two eagles. If he drops just eight strokes, instead of 17, he would have won.
Despite the wild swings on his scorecard in windy Dubai, Woods said the week was, "a step in the right direction."
As much as he needs the reps with his tee and approach shots, Woods cannot overlook his short game. In Dubai, he missed 25 of 72 greens in regulation and saved par just 12 of those 25 times.
That is very un-Tiger-like.
So, Tiger, while you're getting your reps in, don't forget that it was your imaginative short game that saved you many strokes through the years.
TSENG FINALLY BECOMES NO. 1
It was hard to fathom last year that Yani Tseng never reached the No. 1 spot in the women's world rankings while it seemingly changed hands every week.
She won three times last year, with the first two titles coming at major championships. Those were her second and third major championship crowns in just her third full season on the LPGA Tour.
When she won the Women's British Open, Tseng became the youngest golfer in the modern era -- male or female -- with three major championship titles.
However, she never claimed the top spot in the rankings until now.
Tseng won the Women's Australian Open and ANZ Ladies Masters the last two weeks to improve from fifth to first in the world.
"It is so soon. I wasn't expecting it as quickly as this," Tseng admitted on Sunday. "I still have another 10 months to go (this season). I just need to be very patient and keep working hard."
She has won at least one event each of the last three years on the LPGA Tour. If she keeps that streak going, it isn't hard to imagine that Tseng will be No. 1 for quite some time.
- Alvaro Quiros had an ace in Sunday's final round en route to winning the Dubai Desert Classic. It was the fourth hole-in-one of the tournament. His ace came on a "three-quarter wedge" from 161 yards. The Spaniard hits it as long as anyone in the game and has five wins on the European Tour at the age of 28. He is already within three tour wins of Sergio Garcia. Maybe they will replace Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal as the Spanish Armada at the Ryder Cup?
- Bill Murray and D.A. Points won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday. Murray's act at the event has gotten old to me, but it was cool to see him win the event for the first time.