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Now, this is a piece of news.
A noticeably subdued Woods took to the stage at Bethpage as he prepared for his first round as a 15-times major champion, at the US PGA Championship here on Thursday. If, as would be entirely understandable, Woods has his eyes on ruling golf once more he appeared keen to play down the prospect. “I’m not looking at it like that,” the 43-year-old insisted. “I’m just looking at trying to give myself the best chance to win.
“Whether I’m dominant or not going forward, that remains to be seen. What I know is I need to give myself the best chance to win the events that I play in, and sometimes that can be taking more breaks here and there and making sure I am ready to go and being able to give it my best at those events.”
Woods kept reflections on the Masters to within golfing parlance, which was in stark contrast to his clear euphoria at the time. “I’m not going to say it was just like old times, no,” he said. “It was very different. I hadn’t won in a long time there. I’ve been in contention numerous times to have gotten it done but I hadn’t.
“Just the way it played out. I mean, it was so different as a whole because we teed off in threesomes [on Sunday]. There was a two-tee start. We went off early. These are things that have never happened in Augusta’s history. “The whole tournament, how many guys had a chance to win on that back nine, after Frankie [Molinari] made a mistake at 12? He just opened Pandora’s box to who’s going to win the championship, and I just happened to be one of those guys.”
Woods expanded on the reasoning behind skipping the Wells Fargo Championship, sandwiched between the Masters and this major. He had initially intended to feature in Charlotte. “I wanted to play at Quail Hollow but to be honest with you, I wasn’t ready yet to start the grind of practising and preparing and logging all those hours again,” he said. “I was lifting, my numbers were good. I was feeling good in the gym but I wasn’t mentally prepared to log in the hours.
“Coming here is a different story. I was able to log in the hours, put in the time and feel rested and ready. That’s going to be the interesting part going forward; how much do I play and how much do I rest?
“I think I’ve done a lot of the legwork and the hard work already, trying to find my game over the past year and a half. Now I think it’s just maintaining it. I know that I feel better when I’m fresh. The body doesn’t respond like it used to, doesn’t bounce back quite as well, so I’ve got to be aware of that.”