April 11, 2012

Tiger’s Blog: Gearing up for Quail Hollow and TPC Sawgrass

I have decided to commit to the Wells Fargo Championship, May 3-6, at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., and THE PLAYERS Championship, May 10-13, at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. I’ve been fortunate to win both tournaments — Wells Fargo in 2007 and THE PLAYERS in 2001.

Both have fantastic fields, and I look forward to competing. Sean [Foley] and I have some work to do, but I’m going to take some time off and not look at the clubs for a while and then get back after it. I know what to work on. It’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it. Just putting in the reps and the time. I just wasn’t able to do it at the Masters.

It felt so good to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Not just to win, but also the way I did it. To go out there and earn it on Sunday under really tough conditions and obviously playing against Graeme [McDowell]. I knew it was going to be a tough match, and I really hit the ball well all day.

I had control of my game. People forget — I’ve been there a number of times. I know what to do in those circumstances. It’s just matter of doing it.

One cool thing about winning was my kids got to watch on television. They were at home rooting and were so excited when I was able to show them the trophy the next day. They were excited for about three seconds and then it was on to the next thing.

One thing I would like to say about the Masters last week is that obviously I got frustrated at times and know some of my actions were wrong, especially at No. 16. The Masters means a lot to me, and I was trying as hard as I could. I’m out there competing. I grind every day, and my expectations are to do my best. It’s very disappointing when that doesn’t happen.

I felt good starting out the week at Augusta. My practice sessions were good and so was my short game. My putting felt very solid, unfortunately I just did not hit the ball well. I fell into some of my old patterns again, which was frustrating. You can’t play well every week, even though we would like to. Unfortunately, I had a bad ball-striking week at the wrong time.

Oh man, it was such a great atmosphere to play. The people were so fantastic, nice and supportive. They were trying to get me to play well. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t quite get it done. The good news is that my left leg held up great, and I didn’t have any problems.

Congratulations to Bubba Watson for winning. We used to play a lot of practice rounds together. If you think about it, for a lefty, that shot on No. 10 didn’t sit up too badly for him. It was a hook lie, and on top of that, he’s firing it into the hill, because that green goes from right to left. So whatever type of hook he hits is actually going to be killed into the slope.

The only thing I was curious to see was how far down there he drove it and whether he was going to have to hit a short iron or mid-iron. If he hits a mid-iron in there, he can’t stop it because it’s coming in there too hot. If it’s a short iron, he can spin it even if you hook it that much. He makes the golf ball move a lot, which in this day and age is really hard to do because the golf balls just don’t move that much. For him to curve it as much as he does, obviously he’s got a tremendous feel for his shots. He plays a way that a lot of the older players used to do it, but they did it with a ball that moved a lot more. It’s a lot harder to move the ball the way he does with this ball now. The golf ball just doesn’t spin as much. You have to have tremendous club-head speed, and he’s got that.

I had a great time at the Champions Dinner. There are no good stories I can talk about, but there was a lot of grief being given.

Charl [Schwartzel] did a nice job with the menu and everyone enjoyed it. As always, each and every year, it was very relaxed. I always sit next to Mark O’Meara, and Jack [Nicklaus] sat next to me. Jack always sits next to Arnold [Palmer], so he was a couple seats away.

Everyone congratulated me for my win at Bay Hill. It was fantastic. Some of the guys watched the entire weekend. It was nice to hear the comments from the guys who have been there and done that and understand.

That’s all for now. Hope you and your family had a great Easter.