PGA Championship

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Tiger Woods' driving issues may be curbed this week for a simple reason

February 21, 2018

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Though we are quick to scrutinize the results, Tiger Woods' latest comeback is a process in discovery, trying to understand his limitations and comfortability following his fourth back surgery. Still in its fledgling stages, it's hard to extrapolate much of merit, as he's logged just six official rounds on the PGA Tour.

Conversely, driving accuracy has never been Tiger's forte. An issue that's been amplified in appearances at Torrey Pines and Riviera, as the 14-time major winner has hit just 35.71 percent (30/84) of fairways in return. Six rounds is not enough to count towards the tour's official stats, but out of the 214 golfers who qualify, only Andrew Loupe (33.12 percent) has been worse in driving precision. In short, if Woods wants to stop battling the cutline, improved play off the tee is vital.

And it may be on the horizon this week at the Honda Classic, for a very simple reason: according to Woods, he only plans on hitting driver four or five times each day.

With good reason. Though PGA National is not particularly long—par 70, weighing in at 7,140 yards—it can wreak havoc on wayward drives thanks to bunkers and a dozen water hazards. Perhaps it's no surprise that Rickie Fowler owned a .800 strokes gained/off-the-tee mark (10th in the field) in his Honda victory last season thanks to finding the fairway early and often (over 67 percent).

During his practice round on Wednesday, which served as his only tour of the course this week, Woods hit the driver six times, with just two attempts finding the short stuff. Without the big stick in hand, Tiger hit five of eight fairways. When he finished runner-up at the event in 2012, Woods was eighth in the field in driving accuracy, hitting the fairway 71 percent of the time.