Golf: Tiger Woods confident of winning touch ahead of Memorial Tournament


Tiger Woods tees off this week in suburban Columbus, Ohio, just two weeks shy of the 10-year anniversary of his 14th and last Major Championship success.
Tiger Woods tees off this week in suburban Columbus, Ohio, just two weeks shy of the 10-year anniversary of his 14th and last Major Championship success.PHOTO: AFP

COLUMBUS (AFP) - Tiger Woods heads into Thursday's (May 31) Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial Tournament confident he still has what it takes to clinch victory.

Nicklaus said on Tuesday Woods would need to remember how to close out a victory if he is to add to his collection of 14 Major championship titles.

Former world No. 1 Woods, who last competed at the Memorial in 2015, fully agrees it is a barrier he needs to overcome ahead of teeing-up at Muirfield Village this week.

"I know I do need to have an understanding what it takes to finish it off and get a 'W'," said Woods. "I've been on runs before where getting 'Ws' came pretty easy and there were stretches where it was very difficult.

"To me, this is a little bit different coming back off not really playing for a while and I remember the feelings when I was down at the Valspar when I had a chance to win there and I finished second and it really felt comfortable.

"The last few times that I've had the chance to be up there on the board I felt comfortable so hopefully I can just shoot the low round when I need it."

Woods tees off this week in suburban Columbus, Ohio, just two weeks shy of the 10-year anniversary of his 14th and last Major Championship success at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines in California.

That victory came after an injured Woods battled through a gruelling 18-hole play-off virtually on one leg.

Woods revealed on Wednesday that only a small group of his entourage were aware of the severity of his injured knee during that win.

"I only walked two nine-hole practice rounds at Torrey before teeing-up and not many knew what I was going through," he said.

"There were my surgeons, my trainers, my coach, Elin (then wife), so there were not a lot of people and maybe just a little more than half-a-dozen."

Fellow American Justin Thomas returns to competition teeing-up for a first time as the new world No. 1 but wondering what all the fuss is about.

"I enjoyed it for a couple of days knowing I had gone to No. 1 when I had the two weeks off but after that it was over with and it was not as though I was really thinking about it," said Thomas.

"It's odd because nothing comes with it (Going to No. 1 in the world) like when you win a tournament you get a trophy and you get a lot of money. You do a press conference afterwards whereas I was in the middle of flying home when DJ (Dustin Johnson) finished and I had been told I was now No. 1 so I was like 'okay'," he added.

Thomas heads a field featuring eight of the world's top 10 - Dustin Johnson (2), Justin Rose (3), Jordan Spieth (5), Rory McIlroy (6), Rickie Fowler (7), Jason Day (8) and Hideki Matsuyama (10).