Woods seeks to build momentum at Doral
07 Mar 2012 - 23:16:56
Tiger Woods arrives at the elite World Golf Championships at Doral this week hoping to build on his storming second-placed finish to Rory McIlroy at the Honda Classic on Sunday.
But Woods wasn't dwelling on his career-best final-round 62 at Palm Beach Gardens, saying he was already focused on preparing for action on Doral's TPC Blue Monster.
"That tournament's over with, whether you missed the cut or win the tournament, it's over," said Woods, who has won three times at Doral.
"Now we are on to a new week, a new golf course, and have to learn it and be ready by Thursday."
Former world number one Woods remains in search of his first tour-level victory since 2009.
A third-placed finish in the Australian Open last year, a strong showing in the Presidents Cup and a win in the unofficial Chevron World Challenge showed his game was coming around.
A balky putter saw Woods get off to a slow start last week, but his closing eight-under 62 was the lowest final round score of his career.
Woods said that now that the swing changes he has struggled to implement over the past season are dialed in, he can work to sharpen the rest of his game.
"I can't neglect what I do on the range, but I can also start delegating a little bit more time to my chipping and my putting, and the short game itself," he said.
Northern Ireland's McIlroy, who held off Woods to win last week and claim the world number one ranking, could solidify his position atop the rankings.
However, England's Luke Donald -- supplanted by McIlroy -- and England's Lee Westwood could also reach the summit with a victory -- depending on how McIlroy does.
The three will play together for the first two rounds.
McIlroy is the fourth player in 16 months to reach number one and the top spot has changed hands five times since Woods was supplanted in November of 2010 after 281 weeks.
Donald said the fact that the ranking is up for grabs is good for the game.
"I think it adds a little bit of interest," he said.
McIlroy said he's less concerned with staying atop the rankings than he is with winning an elite WGC title -- and his last tournament before the first major of the year, the Masters.
"This is a World Golf Championship, and it's my last event before the Masters," McIlroy said. "I'd love to give myself a chance to win here again this week, and go into that three-week break with a lot of confidence."
After his win on Sunday, McIlroy made a quick trip to New York to spend a few days with his girlfriend, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.
Back in Florida and reflecting on his previous week, McIlroy admitted that it was extra satisfying to have held off the challenge of 14-time major champion Woods, who finished birdie-eagle to close in on McIlroy late in the final round.
"To be honest, I was probably thinking to myself, 'Could it not just have been anyone else?'" McIlroy admitted.
"The way I did it Sunday, with Tiger making the charge, it was almost more satisfying to do it that way, knowing that I held up under pretty intense pressure when I needed to."