While the current winning streak Tiger Woods brings to Doral is dominating headlines, the No. 1-ranked player in the world reiterated Wednesday that when it comes right down to it, major championships remain his chief focus.
Woods hasn't lost a tournament since tying for second place last September in the Deutsche Bank Championship. In addition to reeling of five consecutive PGA Tour victories, he also captured his own 16-player Target World Challenge in December and the European PGA Tour's Dubai Desert Classic last month.
"This week is a new week, and I'm trying to get this one and make sure my game is right for Augusta," Woods told reporters, referring to the upcoming Masters. "As I've always said, you want to peak four times a year and I want everything going positively that way."
Woods said he considered last week a "setback," at least early on as he struggled with his swing in the first two rounds of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and was five strokes off the pace. However, Woods rallied with back-to-back rounds of 4-under-par 66 on the weekend and sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to pull out a one-stroke victory over Bart Bryant.
"I turned it around and still ended up winning the golf tournament, which is great," Woods said. "I think that's the maturation of my game, learning how to fix it and turning rounds into rounds that don't basically kick me out of a tournament."
As if Woods' current streak wasn't impressive enough, the defending champion heads into Thursday's first round of the World Golf Championships-CA Championship — formerly known as the American Express Championship — as the owner of all three WGC titles. He won the Bridgestone Invitational last summer and the Accenture Match Play in February.
"That would be the ultimate," Woods said.
Sean O'Hair, who played in the final pairing with Woods last Sunday, admitted that the Tiger Factor can be intimidating. For that reason, O'Hair said he purposely tried not to even watch Woods play — even though he might want to out of sheer admiration.
"The thing is, if you watch him play, it's sometimes easy to kind of get a little bit off your game," O'Hair told reporters. "I respect the guy, but also I want to beat his brains in when I'm on the golf course. When I'm on the golf course, I can't think the way I do of him off the golf course."
Woods points out, however, that each week brings about a fresh opportunity to beat him. This week, 19 of the top 20 players in the world are in the Miami area to take their best shot.
"Whatever I've done the last few weeks is inconsequential," Woods said. "It doesn't count for this week. I have to play well this week in order to win this event.
"You've got to put all that aside and get out there and be ready come Thursday and then put yourself in position come Sunday."
That said, does Woods expect to eventually lose a golf tournament this year?
"I'm sure it'll happen, eventually," Woods said.
SITE: Doral, Fla.
COURSE: Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Blue Course (7,266 yards, par 72).
PURSE: $8 million (Winner's share: $1.44 million).
FEDEX CUP POINTS: 26,500 (winner's share: 4,725).
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. EDT) and NBC (Saturday, 2-6 p.m. EDT; Sunday, 3-7 p.m. EDT).
March 20, 2008
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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