Woods gets back to work at Quail Hol­low

The event fea­tures a top field, in­clud­ing Masters cham­pion Pa­trick Reed

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - LEADING OFF - By Doug Fer­gu­son

CHARLOTTE, N.C. >> Tiger Woods spent three months work­ing to­ward one week in April.

The Masters has come and gone.

Woods took a small step back at Au­gusta National when he mis­fired with his iron play, didn’t break par un­til the fi­nal round and tied for 32nd. He fin­ished 16 shots back, his widest dis­tance from the lead in 19 ap­pear­ances at the Masters.

It was a big step for­ward for Pa­trick Reed, who slept three hours af­ter win­ning his first ma­jor, woke up at 5 a.m. be­cause he couldn’t sleep and re­sponded to 155 text mes­sages and about 180 emails.

“Ev­ery one,” he said with a big smile.

This is no time to rest.

Golf shifts into over­drive start­ing to­day with the Wells Fargo Cham­pi­onship at

Quail Hol­low, a course that hosted the PGA Cham­pi­onship last sum­mer and boasts enough star play­ers to make it feel like the next best thing to a ma­jor.

The Play­ers Cham­pi­onship is the fol­low­ing week. Three ma­jor cham­pi­onships, start­ing with the U.S. Open at Shin­necock Hills, are played in a nine-week span.

“Build­ing to­ward next week,” Woods said. “Hope­fully, I can have ev­ery­thing peak for this week and next week, but mainly next week. And af­ter that, it’s get­ting ready for Shin­necock.”

Woods put a new set of irons in his bag for Quail Hol­low, and in some re­spects, the course feels new. He hasn’t played the Wells Fargo Cham­pi­onship since 2012, and while he won in 2007, he has missed the cut the past two times he played. It’s the only golf course where he has missed the 36-hole cut twice.

Since then, and mainly for the PGA Cham­pi­onship, Quail Hol­low com­bined the open­ing two holes into one long par 4 and built two new holes on the front nine.

Since the last time he played, the 16th hole has been over­hauled so that the green sits by the wa­ter.

“The golf course is much harder than it used to be, that’s for sure,” Woods said af­ter his pro-am round Wed­nes­day. “It’s longer, but it’s also more dif­fi­cult.”

Woods wasn’t sure what to make of the Masters ex­cept that his irons were off. He had been build­ing to­ward April, a phrase he used on more than one oc­ca­sion from the on­set of his re­turn fol­low­ing a fourth back surgery. He was in the hunt on the front nine of the fi­nal round at the Honda Clas­sic and came within one shot of a play­off at the Valspar Cham­pi­onship. He was one shot out of the lead with three holes to play at Bay Hill un­til hit­ting his tee shot out-of-bounds.

And then his game didn’t take an­other step at Au­gusta National.

“I didn’t hit my irons very good,” Woods said. “If I did hit a green, I hit it above the hole, I hit it in the wrong spot. I had de­fen­sive putts for most of the days. I needed to be more pre­cise and I wasn’t. Still need to con­tinue to work on it and try to get sharp, and hope­fully this will be a good week.”

Woods said he put his golf clubs in the closet for 10

It was nice to shut it down, re­flect, an­a­lyze, sit back and try and fig­ure out what’s the best course of ac­tion go­ing for­ward so I can win events.”

Tiger Woods

Golfer, who took a three­week break af­ter com­pet­ing in the Masters

days af­ter the Masters, did some mod­er­ate weightlift­ing while stay­ing flex­i­ble and then went back to work on his golf mus­cles and the speed of his swing.

“And I got them all back,” he said.

Reed re­turned last week at the Zurich Clas­sic, a team event he played with Pa­trick Cant­lay, and tied for sev­enth. He was in awe of the green jacket, which he wore dur­ing a me­dia tour in New York, to a Hous­ton Astros game and even to fast-food res­tau­rant.

Just don’t get the idea that he is sat­is­fied with his year.

Reed won’t even buy into the no­tion that no mat­ter what hap­pens the rest of the year, this will be his best year. He won twice in 2014. He only has one tro­phy this year. That’s how he mea­sures suc­cess.

“I’m never go­ing to set­tle,” Reed said. “I’m not the type that just be­cause I won one ma­jor means I’m done. I want to go out, com­pete and get that feel­ing more and more and try to win as many golf tour­na­ments as I pos­si­bly can.”

This would be a big one, be­cause of the qual­ity of the golf course and the field.

Rory McIl­roy, Phil Mick­el­son and Rickie Fowler all are play­ing for the first time since the Masters. Justin Thomas has a chance to go to No. 1 in the world, and Quail Hol­low is where he won the PGA Cham­pi­onship last Au­gust.

Woods is com­ing off a three-week break, his long­est since he re­turned to the PGA Tour in Jan­uary, and it was a wel­come respite.

“I played a lot of golf head­ing into Au­gusta, more golf than I thought I would be able to play,” he said. “It was nice to shut it down, re­flect, an­a­lyze, sit back and try and fig­ure out what’s the best course of ac­tion go­ing for­ward so I can win events.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS PHO­TOS

Tiger Woods, left, watched his tee shot on the 11th hole dur­ing the pro-am of the Wells Fargo Cham­pi­onship golf tour­na­ment at Quail Hol­low Club in Charlotte, N.C., on Wed­nes­day. Woods re­turns to ac­tion af­ter an ex­tended break af­ter the Masters. The tour­na­ment fea­tures Masters champ Pa­trick Reed, who of­ten showed off his green jacket, which he wore at a Hous­ton Astros game on April 14.

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