Woods: Last week's 62 is all part of the past

Tiger Woods on Sunday at the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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DORAL, Fla. -- Three days ago, and just 80 miles north on the Florida Turnpike, Tiger Woods fired his lowest final-round score ever. It was a brilliant 62, leading to his best finish on the PGA Tour in nearly 2 1/2 years. That kind of play, on display Sunday at the Honda Classic, was “just kind of building.” Golf at its most elite level is in a wonderful place.

Yet all of that seemingly was forgotten by the time Woods stepped to the podium Wednesday at Doral. It was a new week, another tournament.

“It’s a whole new golf course,” he said when asked about a carryover effect. “It doesn’t count. That tournament is over with, whether you missed the cut or won the tournament. It’s over. Now we’re on to a new week, a new golf course, and have to learn it and be ready by Thursday.”

That’s true, of course, but Woods faces accelerated expectations -- is he ready to win now? -- after his tie for second Sunday at PGA National. When he tees it up at 12:40 p.m. EDT Thursday in the opening round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, there will be several positive vibes to recall. The bogey-free Sunday. The 62. The adrenaline. The shots executed under pressure.

Indeed, for all of the wrangling over his swing reconstruction under coach Sean Foley, Woods enters the week at No. 1 in total driving, a statistic that accounts for both driving distance and accuracy. “We fixed that,” Woods said of his long game.

Is the same true of his putting?

Though Woods finally holed a few putts on Sunday at PGA National, it was a struggle on the greens for much of the first three rounds (including a laborious 34 putts on Thursday). He was fooled by the grain, or the reads, or the speed. On the year, he’s 101st in the Tour’s strokes-gained putting category.

“I’m in a position now where I can start dedicating a little more time to other aspects of my game,” said Woods, who has moved to No. 16 in the Official World Golf Ranking. “I can also start delegating a little bit more time to my chipping and my putting, and the short game itself, because I understand the whole concept of what Sean is trying to get me to do.”

Woods also can draw upon past success here at the Blue Monster. He is a three-time winner at Doral and has won this particular WGC a total of six times, albeit at different venues.

Winless in an official PGA Tour event since September 2009, Woods’ runner-up finish last week at the Honda was his best result since the Tour Championship that year.

What can we make of that strong performance? Nothing. That tournament is over with.

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