Woods still seeking consistency
Tiger Woods said he is still searching for consistency in all facets of his game as he prepares for this week's Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.
The world's 93rd-ranked player hasn't played since the Masters last month, saying Wednesday that he "got away from the game, didn't touch a club, didn't make a golf swing."
After consecutive top-12 finishes at the Honda Classic, Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods finished a disappointing 32nd at Augusta National. He added the Valspar the week before the event, producing a busier schedule than expected.
"It felt great," Woods said of the layoff. "It felt good to shut it down. I played a little more golf than I was expecting to play. ... I played a lot of golf heading into Augusta, more golf than I thought I would be able to play, because this is all new.
"It was nice to shut it down, reflect, analyze, sit back and figure out what the best course of action is going forward so I can win events."
While it was a highly erratic driver that kept him from being a true factor down the stretch the previous three events, it was inconsistent iron play that left Woods scrambling to make the cut and too often putting from the wrong side of the hole at the Masters.
"Now, of course, I'm driving it great and struggling a bit with my irons,'' Woods said.
This week he is making a switch to TaylorMade irons from his old Nike clubs—a move that has been in the works for more than a year.
"I drove it great on the weekend (at the Masters), but I kept hitting the ball above the hole or in the wrong spot," Woods said. "And I had defensive putts on most of the days. Even on Sunday when I shot 4-under par, I was in some tough spots. I needed to be more precise and I wasn't. I need to continue working on it and get sharp."
Woods is using the Wells Fargo Championship to tune up for The Players Championship next week, and Quail Hollow promises to provide a stiff test. Since Woods won the event in 2007, the course has undergone significant changes. He missed the cut in 2010 and in his most recent appearance in 2012—making it the only course at which he had failed to reach the weekend at multiple times in his professional career.
Justin Thomas won the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow last year, and Woods said the changes leading up to that event have made the course significantly longer and several holes are "more stout."
"The golf course is much harder than it used to be," he said. "That's for sure. It's longer, but it's also more difficult."
After The Players, Woods is expected to play at the Memorial Tournament two weeks before the U.S. Open at Shinnecock in June.
He will play the first two rounds this week with reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who is making his second start back from a wrist injury, and Masters champion Patrick Reed. The threesome tees off at 11:50 a.m. on Thursday and 6:40 a.m. on Friday.