Tiger Woods ‘on track’ for the Masters despite neck injury

Tiger Woods ‘on track’ for the Masters despite neck injury

Woods, playing his first event since last month's WGC-Mexico Championship, covered the front nine in level-par before he mixed three birdies with two bogeys in a five-hole stretch after the turn and appeared to show no ill-effects from the neck strain which ruled him out of last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.

A day after arriving at the Players Championship and putting to bed worries of another prolonged absence, Woods seemed intent on ending any discussion that his cold putter is an serious threat to his comeback.

The Englishman piled up six birdies on the more hard front nine to set a cracking pace with a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 in Ponte Vedra Beach.

But with his neck now pain-free, Woods says his putting has also come around as he chases a third Players title, regarded golf's unofficial fifth major, and 81st career PGA Tour win.

Fleetwood finished seventh at Sawgrass a year ago and third in the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, when Molinari stormed through the field with a closing 64 to win his second PGA Tour title. If I would have gotten my rounds in last week, it would have been four tournaments, so I'm right there where I need to be.

"I hit a 5-iron into the first hole, and I haven't hit anything but a 9-iron or a wedge in there for 12 years".

Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith and Aaron Baddeley round out the Australian contingent at the 144-player tournament.

But his last back surgery, a spinal fusion in 2017, worked, and Woods enjoyed a resurgence in 2018. "It was getting to the point where it was affecting my setup, my backswing, my through swing", said Woods. "I just got back into something that I do naturally". The Match Play is the week after Valspar and two weeks prior to the Masters. His return to Augusta last spring after a two-year absence made it one of the more anticipated Masters in recent years, and he teased us with strong performances at the British Open and PGA Championship.

When is the 2019 Players Championship? .

Asked specifically about Match Play, Woods said, "If nothing flares up, then I'll play".

Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland - Even though he hasn't won since the Arnold Palmer Invitational past year, Rory is on a run of five straight finishes in the top six and just can't finish things off on Sunday right now.

"I've played three this year so far, and that's about right", he said. "If you hit it well like I did today you're going to have chances and you can shoot a score". "I just got back into something I do naturally", he said. If it's not my lower back, it's going to be in the hip; you know I have had four knee operations. There are so many different ways to go and this is such a tough venue that this is indeed the week to scale it back a tiny bit.

"I played really well all day apart from I hit a poor tee shot on 14 and got away with it", Fleetwood told Sky Sports. I've got to keep all the other structures pliable, and that's one of the issues of having a procedure like I did, that the forces have to go somewhere.

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