Tiger Woods, despite missing the cut Saturday at Torrey Pines and finishing down the leader board in Tuesday’s pocket-lining exhibition to kick off the Dubai Desert Classic, believes his game is just a scoche off target.
"I wouldn't read anything into what happened Saturday at Torrey Pines," Woods told the Associated Press after another double-bogey in the $600,000 Champions Challenge sank his chances of climbing the leader board in the star-studded kickoff to this week’s Middle East ballgame.
Hank Haney may be heartened to know that his former student went home to Florida from the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday to get in some putting practice. The 2013 defending champion did so after carding two straight doubles and a boatload of bogeys on his way to a third-round 7-over 79 and his first-ever 54-hole missed cut, which prompted Haney to slam Woods for working out too much and neglecting his work on the greens.
"I went home and had a nice day off," said Woods, who declined to chat with the media after his horrid day at Torrey, where he had won eight times. "Worked on putting a bit in the backyard and that was it. I am not that far off. It's just that I had one bad day, and that happens."
Tuesday, Woods posted a 1-under 71 in the 21-player undercard featuring former winners of the actual heavyweight bout that will start on Thursday after getting off to a strong start that the AP said included three birdies. A water-logged double on the par-5 18th doused Woods' chances and the world No. 1, who has two victories on the Emirates Golf Club venue for this week’s European Tour contest, tied for eighth, behind co-winners Henrik Stenson and Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
Rory McIlroy, who will tee it up alongside the player Golf Digest calculated as the best among the top 100 competing in the modern era, finished tied for third, according to Reuters.
Woods and McIlroy had a brief stint together as playing partners to open their 2013 seasons in Abu Dhabi, where both missed the cut and Tiger incurred the first of four high-profile penalties for the year. The 14-time major champion contended all was well on Team Tiger and he had put last week’s ghastly golf behind him.
"It was just one of those days that happens, and it was one of the trains I just couldn't get off," said Woods, who declined to chat with the media after his horrid day at Torrey. "There was nothing different with my ball-striking today compared to last Saturday."