AKRON, OHIO - Commitment remains a bit of an issue with Tiger Woods.
At least on the course.
So it is heading into the PGA Championship this week.
After a wildly inconsistent even-par 70 Sunday to wrap up his return to tournament golf at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Woods is finding it hard to commit to his swing changes being engineered with coach Sean Foley.
He isn’t even committing to a putter for the PGA.
Woods put a Nike Method putter in his bag for Sunday’s round, dropping his Scotty Cameron model after some struggles with short putting through the second and third rounds of the Bridgestone. Woods used the Cameron to win 13 of his 14 majors, but switched to the Method for the British Open last summer on the slower greens for a short trial.
When asked after his round Sunday if the Nike would be his gamer Thursday when the season’s final major gets underway in Atlanta, Woods said: “It was today. I don’t know about Thursday, but it was today.”
The full swing stuff was a mixed bag for the week and it seemed to get more unwieldy as the tournament went on. Woods didn’t hit a fairway on the front nine Saturday, but rallied to find the short grass on the back nine. He started out strongly Sunday, hitting his first four fairways, but then, as he put it, “completely lost it there.” He finished last in the 76-player field in driving accuracy, hitting only 22 of 56 fairways (though he missed a bunch by just a yard or two the first couple of days).
He missed eight fairways in a row Sunday, some by considerable margins, and went 5-over for the eight-hole stretch starting on the sixth, which also was marred by some unproductive putting strokes. He rallied with three birdies in a row starting on 15.
“I had it in spurts this week. I hit it really well and then I’d lose it and get it back,” said Woods of his full swing adventures.
The almost-three month layoff because of his leg injuries, the swing changes, the lack of competition ... they were all offered up as explanations by Woods Sunday for the uneven performance.
Really, it was to be expected. But Woods went into the week with the mantra that he was only here to win.
“At home playing money games with my buddies is not quite the same,” said Woods. “Being out here and being forced to post a score, hit shots, that’s a different deal,” he said.
Woods is still slipping into some old (bad, apparently) habits from his swing under former coach Hank Haney. Some viewed his comment about his old swing being “wipey,” as a slight towards Haney (somebody has already started a Twitter account @Wipey_Swing “winner of six major championships”).
Woods said he is not curving the ball nearly as much now as he did with Haney and has been struggling to trust his new alignment.
Now Woods has just three days before the PGA starts to work on it all.
Asked how he felt heading to Atlanta, Woods said: “Absolultely encouraged. I hadn’t played. I mean, this is my first tournament since what? April? So it’s been a while.”
If you’re a Tiger fan, enjoy for it as long as it lasts at the PGA. He said he would not play the Wyndham Championship at Greensboro in two weeks no matter what his standing in the FedEx Cup standings (he’s projected at 124th right now; the top 125 make it into the playoffs). There was no cut here at the Bridgestone, but there will be at the PGA. If Woods doesn’t ramp it up, he could miss the cut there and the playoffs.
His reason for skipping Greensboro?
“Family obligations,” he said.