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Step in the right direction for Woods

Kevin Currie, Golf Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Was it great? Not really. Was it good? Sure. Was it an improvement? It seemed that way, yes.

Tiger Woods made his first-ever appearance in a Fall Series event over the weekend, and tied for 30th at the Frys.com Open.

Asked to played the tournament by Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples, Woods put together three straight 68s after starting with a 73.

It wasn't great, because as Woods will tell you, greatness only happens when you win, and win majors.

However, it was a step in the right direction. Since his 2009 car accident and subsequent divorce from his wife, Elin, Woods has posted just five top-10 finishes in 22 worldwide events. He used to win five times in 22 events; now top-10s are more his style.

Woods started working with Sean Foley last year and has stated in a few interviews, that he didn't always understand what Foley was trying to do with his swing.

What Tiger Woods can take from the Frys.com Open is the fact that he carded three straight sub-par rounds for the first time since the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship.
Since missing the cut at the PGA Championship in August, Woods has been working out those kinks by going old school and pounding hundreds of golf balls a day on the range.

According to reports, he has also been taking on any and every comer in matches recently to prepare for the Presidents Cup. He fired a course-record 62 at The Medalist recently, and that news got his name back in the front of people's minds heading into the Frys.com Open.

What will really get people talking about Woods is another victory. That won't happen in the U.S. until at least December, because he will not play either of the remaining Fall Series events.

He will play a pair of events in Australia, including the Presidents Cup, before his next tournament on U.S. soil, which is his own Chevron World Challenge in December.

Asking anyone to predict when Woods will win again is equivalent to asking when the NBA lockout will end. You know it will happen, but you're not sure whether it will be sooner or later.

What Woods can take from the Frys.com Open is the fact that he carded three straight sub-par rounds for the first time since the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship.

That event was also the last time Woods had three consecutive rounds in the 60s. Breaking down his three 68s shows that there is still work to be done.

Woods had at least two bogeys in every round. He did card 17 birdies over the final 54 holes, after having just two in the opening round.

In the first round, it seemed his putting was as rusty as any other part of his game. Yet, the 27 putts he had in round one was the lowest total of the weekend. Woods had 29-28-29 putts the last three days and tied for eighth in putts per rounds for the tournament.

This is what it boils down to for Woods - this latest swing change is taking longer than others for him to trust thoroughly. But, he is getting closer, just ask him.

When will he win again? It could be before the NBA lockout is over, but maybe not. As I've said before, Woods needs to play more. I understand the family commitments, but he isn't the only golfer with kids.

The more tournaments he plays, the faster he'll get back to winning. It has been nearly 25 months since his last PGA Tour title, and that streak will get to at least 29 months before he plays another official PGA Tour event.

BAIRD DENIED LONG-SOUGHT VICTORY

One of these days, Briny Baird is finally going to pick up that first PGA Tour victory. He fought Bryce Molder tooth-and-nail in a six-hole playoff at the Frys.com Open.

Molder was the lucky winner this time though. The 32-year-old had blown a pair of 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour and withstood 10 missed cuts in a 13-event stretch earlier this year.

After a remarkable approach out of a hazard on the fourth playoff hole, Molder matched Baird's par there and the pair both two-putted for birdie on playoff hole No. 5.

Finally, Molder birdied the sixth extra hole to deny Baird.

It's tough to feel bad for Baird, as he has collected over $12.4 million in his career. He has earned the most of any player in PGA Tour history without a victory. This was his 347th tour event.

Luckily for Molder, he only had to wait 132 tour starts before his first title.

MINI-TIDBITS

- Big weekend for golf worldwide. Yani Tseng won again on the LPGA Tour, and is becoming the new Annika Sorenstam. Rickie Fowler picked up his first professional victory in Korea. Finally, Christina Kim, who has just two finishes in the top-30 on the LPGA Tour this year, won for the first time on the Ladies European Tour.

- Brad Faxon got his first Champions Tour win the easy way, as the final round was canceled by rain. His solid 65 in round two propelled him into the lead, and he was declared the winner when heavy rain washed out Sunday's play.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Kevin Currie at kcurrie@sportsnetwork.com.

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