MAMARONECK, New York (Reuters) – Tiger Woods hopes to snap his run of lacklustre performances at the U.S. Open this week, nearly a year after his last PGA Tour victory.
Woods has yet to finish in the top 10 of any tournament since the sport returned after being suspended due to the novel coronavirus, while his last victory came at the Zozo Championship last October when he equalled Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour wins.
“This year I really haven’t putted as well as I wanted to, and the times I did make a few swing mistakes, I missed it in the wrong spots,” said Woods.
“I’ve compounded mistakes here and there that ended up not making me able to make pars or a birdie run, and consequently I haven’t put myself in contention to win events.”
The 44-year-old has enjoyed one of the more enduring careers in golf, despite four back surgeries that had once put his future in the sport in doubt.
Woods, who has 15 major titles – three short of Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record, said last month that he was looking to clean up his game ahead of the U.S. Open – which was pushed back from June to Sept. 17-20 due to the COVID-19 outbreak
He told reporters on Tuesday, however, that he was not trying any radical new approaches to putting.
“I have changed the routine and some of the things that I’ve done over the years, but I still go back to what my dad always taught me, which is obviously putt to the picture,” said Woods.
“Whatever I’m working on at that particular time, once I get out there and I putt, just putt.”
Woods got his first major title after an 11-year drought at the Masters last year, showing he remains a contender on the sport’s biggest stages.
Yet Winged Foot Golf Club will offer little relief should the three-times U.S. Open champion slip up and there will be plenty of contenders ready to pounce if he does, including world number one and 2016 champion Dustin Johnson, as well as number two Jon Rahm, who is gunning for his first-ever major title.
“The winning scores here have never traditionally been very low. I don’t see that changing this week. The golf course is going to be hard,” said Woods.
“It depends on how difficult they want to set up these pins, give us a chance at it.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Toby Davis)