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Tiger's back passes its 1st big test


Tiger Woods's surgically-fused back has passed its first big test this year with the highest of marks in the eyes of the long-time former World No 1.

"Overall I thought I did pretty well," the 42-year-old US owner of 14 major titles told reporters on Sunday after closing with a level-par 72 in strong winds at Torrey Pines outside San Diego and finishing seven shots off the pace in a tie for 23rd in the Farmers Insurance Open, an event he has won eight times

"Some of the shots I had to hit out of the rough, out of the trees, and a few times I had to jack up the speed and had no issues at all (with my body)," Woods said.

"My big concern was playing out of the rough. I hadn't played out of ryegrass since last year. But I hit some really good ones out of there after, unfortunately, putting myself in there."

Woods didn't have a great day with his driver at the long and tough Torrey Pines South course. He found the fairway only three times in each of his last three rounds and when he missed it he had sticky ryegrass rough to contend with, but he made up for his off-day on the tee boxes with some magnificent and creative recovery shots with his irons. His putting was also impressive.

He acknowledged that he had not hit his driver with anything like the power and authority he was hoping for, but pointed out that he was not the only one in the strong field who struggled to hit "some of the narrowest fairways on tour and when I don't have my best stuff and it's as windy as it was today, it compounds it. It made it very difficult for me."

Woods was also satisfied with his short game but despite all the plusses coming out of Torrey Pines, he was not prepared to say anything about the next few venues on his schedule leading up to the first major, the Masters, in April.

The Genesis Open at Riviera in Los Angeles in three weeks time is definite, it is believed, and he may also play in one or two events on the upcoming Florida swing.

"I haven't built out my schedule. We wanted to first see how I was swinging after one tournament and then reassess where I'm at," he explained.

In the meantime, he said it was "nice to get this one under my belt though. It was nice to see I was able to still grind. I fought my tail off and it was good stuff.

"But I'm going to go back now and work on a bunch of things."

"I can feel some of the things I'm doing wrong in my swing."

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Neville Leck

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