Tiger Woods' ball is soaring in Mexico and here's how he'll adjust

tiger woods mexico AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

Tiger Woods' ball is soaring in Mexico and here's how he'll adjust

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods' ball is soaring in Mexico and here's how he'll adjust

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MEXICO CITY – For a second consecutive day, Tiger Woods tinkered with his equipment and the shape of his shots ahead of Thursday’s start of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.

Playing 7,800 feet above sea level at Club de Golf Chapultepec will do that to even the best player of his generation. It’s especially daunting as Woods hasn’t played at high altitude since 1999.

“The most interesting thing is the ball just doesn’t curve up here at altitude,” Woods said Wednesday about his nine-hole practice round on Tuesday with Justin Thomas and Billy Horschel. “Shots that I thought I shaped just didn’t have any shape to it.

“That’s going to be one of the things I need to get organized today and be ready for tomorrow.”

His track record says he’ll be just fine come the first round. He’s won 80 PGA Tour titles, including 14 major championships. And his ownership of the WGC events is untouchable. While no one else has won more than five, Woods has captured 18 WGC titles, including seven in this event.

Of those seven titles in the tournament now known as the Mexico Championship, he’s won at six different courses. If he’s to make it seven different courses, he’ll have to get the better of the tree-lined Club de Golf Chapultepec.

“It’s a lot tighter than I had thought,” Woods said. “It’s very similar to what we would face in some of the places in (California) where it’s narrow, it’s tight, trees overhang. Some of these trees will swallow golf balls up.

“Kikuyu fairways, kikuyu rough, Poa greens. The only difference is we’re up here near 8,000 feet.”

That altitude will make a difference in what Woods puts in the bag. He continued gathering intel Wednesday during a nine-hole practice round with Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm.

“The ball is traveling obviously a long way,” Woods said. “Some of our numbers on the range were a bit surprising, even on the golf course, how far it was going. I need to figure out how far the ball’s going. It’s a challenge.”

As an example of the difference altitude makes, Woods said he hit a 5-iron 171 yards on the 14th hole Sunday in the final round of the Genesis Open north of Los Angeles. In Tuesday’s practice round, he hit a wedge 175 yards.

His ability to adjust will prove important as precision is vital, especially into the small, undulating greens that collectively are the course’s strongest defense.

“It’s hard to get myself to hit certain shots because it’s just, I don’t see the golf ball going that far, but I’ve got to realize that it does,” Woods said.

So Woods tested various lofts and clubs throughout his first two days at the golf course. In Tuesday’s practice round, he added a quarter of a degree to his 3-wood, but Wednesday he adjusted the club’s loft back to its original setting.

On the driving range ahead of Wednesday’s practice round, he toyed with adding loft to his driver. Before he left for the first tee, he changed the loft back to its original setting of 9.0 degrees.

He also experimented with using a 2-iron in his first practice round. But when he discovered the ball wouldn’t stay up in the air because of the altitude, he left it out of his bag for his second practice round, replacing it with his 5-wood.

He said he’s made no other changes, though he said there is a chance, even come Thursday when he warms up for the first round, and then throughout the four days, that he will alter the clubs in his bag.

“It’s important to keep testing, keep seeing where I’m at,” Woods said. “It certainly is a tough challenge.”

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