Tiger is coming out of the woods say colleagues
Updated: 2011-12-03 08:06
Tiger Woods tees off on the sixth hole during the first round of the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, California on Thursday. [Photo/Agencies]
THOUSAND OAKS, California - Former world No 1 Tiger Woods is chasing his first win in more than two years, but his colleagues on the US PGA Tour say he's looking more and more like his old, dominant self.
Woods was in contention en route to a third-place finish behind Greg Chalmers in the Australian Open and claimed the winning point in the United States' 19-15 victory over the International team in the Presidents Cup in a two-week stretch Down Under.
He arrived in California for the Chevron World Challenge, the 18-man tournament he hosts for the benefit of his charitable foundation, saying he believed he was finally dialed in on the swing changes he struggled with all year.
Woods' progress with those changes was hampered by injuries that kept him out of tournaments and limited his practice time, leading to another disappointing season in the wake of a 2010 campaign overshadowed by his personal travails.
His extended winless streak had raised doubts the 14-time major champion will find a way to break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles.
South Korean K.J. Choi, who was leading Woods' tournament with an impressive six-under 66 in the windswept first round, said he was able to catch a glimpse of Woods on Thursday, and liked what he saw.
"I was very impressed at the way he was swinging, at his rhythm, at the power that he had. It almost seemed like watching the old Tiger," said Choi, who was looking forward to playing with Woods in the final group on Friday.
"Tiger is a good friend. He's got a very strong will. He's got the right mental attitude right now and I think it's going to be a very fun day tomorrow."
Woods carded a three-under 69 that could have been better. He narrowly missed holing a 20-foot eagle putt at the fifth and saw a chip from off the seventh green circle the cup but fail to drop.
He shared second place on 69 with playing partner Steve Stricker, who was also impressed by what he saw from Woods.
"I think he's playing great," Stricker said. "He's striking the ball so solidly. His trajectory on his shots is really good. He got a little unlucky on a couple of irons that he hit. He hit them right where he was looking and either a little short or a little long."
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