Woods feels good heading into AT&T National

Woods feels good heading into AT&T National
May 20, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Does Tiger feel he should clear the air with Sergio?

By Tarik El-Bashir

After getting off to a strong start this season, Tiger Woods's golf game has begun to resemble the one he used to dominate the sport a few years ago.

Ask Woods about his marked improvement, though, and the world's No. 1 ranked golfer will tell you that he's actually playing at a higher level than he did in 2007 when he captured seven PGA Tour victories and the PGA Championship.

"I'm probably better now," Woods told Comcast SportsNet's Chick Hernandez in a one-on-one interview at Congressional Country Club on Monday. "I'm more efficient in what I do. I have better understanding, obviously, of my new swing changes. And quite frankly, my misses aren't anywhere near as bad as it used to be."

Woods was in town to promote the AT&T National, which will be held June 27-30 at Congressional and benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Part I of Hernandez' interview with Woods will air at 6 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet.

Woods, the tournament's defending champion, headlines a field that has already received commitments from Adam Scott, Nick Watney, Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose and Ricky Fowler, to name a few. More top golfers are expected to commit in the coming weeks.

Although the AT&T National is more than a month away, Woods figures to arrive as the favorite considering his two stroke victory here last year and his hot first half of this season. The 37-year-old claimed his fourth victory in seven starts earlier this month at the Players Championship.

But his revamped swing, and the increased power it creates, is only part of the reason for Woods' resurgence, he said.

"It's consistency," Woods said. "I've been working on my putting quite a bit. I found something at Torrey [Pines] this year and I really putted well at Torrey. I lost it for a little bit, but [Steve Stricker] gave me a little bit of help at Doral that got me into the same position I was at Torrey. I've basically carried that same feeling and the same posture and lines."

Woods added: "The only time I actually had a putting year like this was in 2000. I think I finished one in greens and two in putting."

Woods is currently first in strokes gained, ranking just ahead of Sergio Garcia.

And, of course, Hernandez also asked Woods about his verbal feud with Garcia two weeks ago.

"Sometimes -- I'm sure you have it at your work -- where you don't get along with everybody," Woods said. "This is an example of that."

When asked later whether he had reached out to Garcia to bury the hatchet, Woods offered a single word answer, "No," as the packed ballroom at Congressional burst into laughter.

Woods indicated he has bigger things on his mind. Things like closing in on Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour victories. Woods' victory at the Players Championship was his 78th.

"That's a mark that I don't think anyone would have foreseen anyone getting to," Woods told Hernandez. "Just because of the consistency and how long you have to play, and how well you have to play to attain a number like that. I'm not that far off. If I have the rest of the year the way I've had it, I tie it."

Congressional has been home to the AT&T National four times in the tournament's six-year existence. But the contract between the club and the tournament expires after the 2014 event, club president Greg Lamb said."

To extend the agreement, club membership must approve the measure by vote before the end of the year. If that happens, the tournament will return through 2017.

"That's something that we're addressing now," Woods said during a news conference following the sit-down with Hernandez. "And we'll certainly continue with that. We like being here. It's an ongoing conversation and we'll figure it out."