Tiger Woods 'right on track' for Masters

Tiger Woods prepares to catch a ball tossed by his caddied on the second day of competition of the WGC-Mexico Championship golf tournament at the Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City. Woods says a sore neck that

Francesco Molinari won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, finishing two shots clear of England's Matthew Fitzpatrick.

One epic week in Northeast Florida has now given way to another, as McCarthy will make his PLAYERS Championship debut at the vaunted PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

He had fusion surgery on his lower spine in April 2017 - his fourth surgery on his back in four years - and it allowed him to return to a level that saw him win last year at the Tour Championship, play in another Ryder Cup and return to the top 15 in the world ranking. (Having) four weeks off was always going to be created to not necessarily play well at Bay Hill, it's created to kick into effect in a few weeks' time. "I just got back into something that I do naturally".

On the 18th hole previous year, in May, Woods hit 3-iron, 9-iron. He cited a neck strain for skipping the event he's won eight previous times, and some wondered if he would be in jeopardy of missing the Masters again.

"I've played three tournaments so far this year and that's about right".

That turned out to be the reason he showed up at the Valspar previous year.

"The putting feels so much better as I feel better, it kind of goes hand-in-hand".

I've identified three such bets for the four tournament rounds this week, which starts with a Tiger fade on what isn't necessarily his favorite course on the schedule. He overcame great odds in winning his first tournament in more than five years when he emerged at The Tour Championship.

Some of Woods' putting issues could be traced to the neck problems, which he said got progressively worse in Mexico, where despite the issues he managed to tie for 10th. On Tuesday, he used a three-wood followed by a three-iron.

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Woods measures his success by wins.

Asked if he can break that trend, Simpson said, "I'm confident in what I've done up to this point and that's basically all I can control".

The measuring stick for Woods has always been Jack Nicklaus. Has been hit-and-miss at TPC Sawgrass, with four top-10 results including ties for sixth in 2014 and 2017, but has missed the cut in his four other appearances in the Fifth Major, including previous year.

A hot start on the easier back nine (where he'll start) on Friday morning, and Woods will be in the middle of it going to the weekend. "I had him take a look at it to see what he thought of where my set-up looked like now versus all the times that I have putted well".

"If I can stay away from the water I can stay away from big numbers".

Injuries have likely robbed Woods of the chance to overtake Nicklaus in the majors.

He no longer wants to do that at the age of 43.

Mickelson apparently has made a decision to play, meaning the top 50 players in the World Golf Rankings will be in the field at TPC Sawgrass. Pressed on the Nicklaus question, Woods flashed his famous smile.

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