x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Missed putts pose a real problem for Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods might long for the day when all anyone questioned about his game was his swing.

Tiger Woods might long for the day when all anyone questioned about his game was his swing.

Until now, no one ever doubted his putting. But as Woods begins his road to the Masters this week at the Honda Classic, scrutiny has shifted to what used be the most reliable part of his game.

Poised to make a run at Pebble Beach four weeks ago, Woods badly missed a five-foot birdie putt on the second hole and missed a three-footer for par on the seventh hole just as Phil Mickelson was pulling away.

"I could not get comfortable where I could see my lines," he said. "I couldn't get the putter to swing."

Last week at the Match Play Championship, despite missing two birdie putts inside 10 feet on the back nine, Woods had a birdie putt from just outside five feet on 18 to extend his second-round match against Nick Watney. The putt never even touched the hole.

"I should be able to fix it in a day," Woods said.

Players help each other all the time, so it should not be unusual that twice in the last three months, Woods has sought advice from Steve Stricker.

But since when does Woods need to take advice from anybody about putting? He is on everyone's list of the game's best putters. No one from his generation made more clutch putts.

Is it an easy fix? Woods said it would only take one day.

All that can be certain is that his putting is getting a lot of attention. Not because of the putts he makes, but the putts he misses.