Tiger set for back-to-back starts

April 24, 2009

Tiger Woods has entered the Quail Hollow Championship (nee the Wachovia Championship) next week, the first of two straight tournaments he will play (the Players Championship will be played the following week) and the first time in more than a year that he has played consecutive weeks.

Presumably he will play the Memorial as well later in May, which would give him three starts in the run-up to the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.

This is noted here because Golf World's John Hawkins suggests here that perhaps Woods does not play often enough early in the season, and as a result hasn't necessarily had his A game at the Masters in recent years.

Woods frequently used to talk about the need to get tournament tough. Indeed, in 1997, when he won the Masters by 12 shots, the Masters was his eighth start of the year (including the Asian Honda Classic, which he won by 10 shots). In fact, heading into the '97 Masters, he used the very words "tournament tough," in assessing his chances at Augusta in this New York Times story (emphasis ours):

''I'm playing a lot more and I__'m tournament tough__ going into the tournament,'' he said. ''The last two years, with taking finals and everything the week before, that was tough. This time I feel a lot more ready.''

The next two months could be telling.

-- John Strege