PONTE VERDA BEACH, Fla. — After missing last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational because of a neck strain, it appears Tiger Woods will be able to give it a go at this week’s Players Championship. On Monday, Woods spent nearly three hours on the back of the range at TPC Sawgrass going through his entire bag.
Also noteworthy from the session was that Woods worked on his putting with coach Matt Killen. Woods has not had a coach of any kind since parting ways with Chris Como at the end of 2017.
Though it was the first time Killen has been spotted with Woods at a tournament, Woods had already worked with the 32-year-old Kentucky native a few times at home in South Florida, Killen said.
“His stroke looked good,” Killen told Golf Digest as he departed the range. “His putting is better. I like what I see.”
Though Woods has not finished outside the top 20 in three starts this year, he has struggled with his putting throughout the season.
In his last start three weeks ago, at the WGC-Mexico Championship, he had a half-dozen three-putts for the week. At the Genesis Open the week before that, he called his week at Riviera one of the worst he’s had with the putter — an accurate summation given that his opening round included four three-putts and his final round featured just over 50 feet of putts made.
Had Woods played enough rounds this season to qualify, he would rank 80th on tour in strokes gained-putting.
As for Killen, it’s of little surprise that Woods would turn to him. Justin Thomas, who often plays with Woods when the two are at home, also works with Killen. Killen’s other clients on the PGA Tour include Bud Cauley and Blayne Barber.
Woods, who won the Players in 2001 and 2013, is scheduled to play with defending champion Webb Simpson and reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed for the first two rounds this week at TPC Sawgrass.