On Thursday afternoon Tiger Woods teed off in the Quicken Loans National for the first time since 2015. Tiger is playing the first two rounds alongside Marc Leishman and Bill Haas. The 14-time major champion is also the tournament host.
“It’s been frustrating not being able to participate in this event,” Tiger said. “We did a few things we’re proud of.”
Proceeds from the event go to Tiger’s TGR Foundation and local charities.
Tiger Woods tested a new putter on Tuesday.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 26, 2018
Woods is also making a rare equipment change after a missed cut at the U.S. Open and a tie for 23rd at the Memorial Tournament. He has a new putter in the bag: a TaylorMade Ardmore 3. The red mallet putter replaces the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 that propelled him to 13 of 14 major victories.
“I’m trying to find something I can feel again like the swing of the putter,” Tiger said, “getting my body in the right positions and seeing the lines again.”
Woods began experimenting with putters during a recent visit to the Bahamas. Then he used the Ardmore 3 in practice on Tuesday and the pro-am on Wednesday before making the switch official during Thursday’s opening round at TPC Potomac.
Tiger Woods is on the putting green in advance of his 1:20 tee time at the Quicken Loans National and has started out practicing with the TaylorMade model putter he's been experimenting with the last few days.
— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) June 28, 2018
Tiger’s putting statistics have dropped off after a nice start on the West Coast and during the Florida Swing. He is currently ranked 89th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting. And he ranks 175th in putts made inside five feet.
In 10 official events Tiger has made eight cuts and has four top-12 finishes. He is looking ahead to the second half of the year.
“I don’t want to play too much, but I need to play enough,” he said. “I’ve got a game now that can play, so it’s a matter of pacing myself through here, the Open, maybe Bridgestone, and then you’ve got the PGA and the [FedEx Cup] playoffs are right there with the Ryder Cup on the back side. So that’s a lot of golf coming up in the future.”
In a story at PGATour.com, six of Tiger’s peers graded his comeback thus far:
Rickie Fowler: A
Geoff Ogilvy: A
Jimmy Walker: A+
Bill Haas: B+
Anirban Lahiri: A
Marc Leishman: B+
What grade does Tiger give himself?
“I’m not going to give you a letter grade on it, but I will say that I am blessed, thankful and basically [it’s] a gift to be able to play again. There was no guarantee I would ever play golf, forget the PGA Tour. So to go from that to here—I didn’t foresee that happening. I really didn’t.”
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