Pain-free Tiger hopes putter warms up at Players

Sherman Parsons
March 15, 2019

Woods was spotted alongside golf instructor Matt Killen on the putting green ahead of this week's Players Championship.

Justin Thomas closely trails the favourites on this week's golf odds at +1600, ahead of Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler, who sit knotted at +2000, while two-time Players Championship victor Tiger Woods joins Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari at +2200.

The Englishman piled up six birdies on the more hard front nine to set a cracking pace with a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 in Ponte Vedra Beach.

"It's not painful now", said Woods.

Francesco Molinari, fresh off his win at Bay Hill on Sunday, said he drove north from Orlando with his caddie after the Arnold Palmer Invitational and had pizza to celebrate.

"I'm comfortable with my game, doing everything well", said the Northern Irishman, who for all his good play this year is yet to win.

He's recorded 10 three-putts in his last two tournaments, an unusually high number for a player known for a little magic with his flat stick. "I haven't hit anything but a 9-iron or a wedge in there for 12 years". No one has won The Players in consecutive years.

"It's back to how it used to play", Woods said of the difference in dates.

It flared up again at the Genesis Open last month, and then got worse in Mexico City the following week. "It was getting to the point where it was affecting my setup, my backswing, my through swing", said Woods.

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Woods did not want to commit to a pre-Masters schedule until after The Players was over.

At the first Finals event, the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship, McCarthy posted a T5 finish to mathematically put himself in the driver's seat for a return to the PGA TOUR; however, it was a T9 at the DAP Championship the following week that completely secured his spot for the 2018-19 season.

"It's just the golf course plays so much shorter in May than it does in March", he stated.

Woods has played through pain before, but now seems to wiser. Before you lock in your 2019 Players Championship picks or enter a PGA DFS tournament on sites like FanDuel and DraftKings, be sure to see the PGA Tournament predictions from SportsLine's proven computer model.

"My long term confidence in terms of my back, I am not even thinking about it right now", Day told reporters at TPC Sawgrass on Tuesday. "I was going to play three or four". I got to shut it down just like I did last week.

As for his health, Woods does not consider that a major concern. "I'm 43 with four back surgeries so let's manage what I have and understand that I'm going to have good weeks and bad weeks". If you count their U.S. Amateur triumphs, Nicklaus stands at 20 and Woods has 17. There are so many different ways to go and this is such a tough venue that this is indeed the week to scale it back a tiny bit. "When I have an injury, I get sad and depressed".

"One of the issues with (spinal fusion surgery) is the forces have to go somewhere".

Asked what his theory is on why no one has been about to defend his Players title, Simpson said, "I think one of the reasons is [the course] doesn't really fit one style of play".

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