Tiger aims to regain winning ways at ‘perfect venue’

AKRON .  If Tiger Woods could single out a venue most likely to inspire his game, he could do no better than Firestone Country Club which is hosting this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Tiger Woods seeks eighth victory at Firestone Country Club. Net photo.
Tiger Woods seeks eighth victory at Firestone Country Club. Net photo.

AKRON .  If Tiger Woods could single out a venue most likely to inspire his game, he could do no better than Firestone Country Club which is hosting this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Woods has piled up a record seven titles on the heavily tree-lined layout and is aiming to replicate that form over the next four days as he also aims to build momentum for next week’s PGA Championship, the final major of the year.

“I’ve had times where I haven’t played well at all coming into this event and for some reason it turns it around,” the world number one told reporters on Wednesday on a damp, overcast afternoon at Firestone.

“And sometimes I’ve played great and it’s continued. This is one of those courses where, over the years, I just have felt very comfortable.”

A 14-times major champion, Woods has recorded a staggering 11 top-10 finishes in 13 appearances at the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) event, including 10 in a row.

“I’ve done it all different ways, that’s the thing,” said the 37-year-old American. “Some years I’ve striped it and have really played well, and other years I’ve hit it all over the lot and had to be creative.

Though Woods has triumphed a season-high four times on the 2013 PGA Tour, he arrived at Firestone frustrated after a wasted opportunity to win the British Open 12 days ago.

He ended up in a tie for sixth at Muirfield in Scotland where his bid for a first major in five years unraveled in the final round as he closed with a three-over-par 74.

Since that disappointing Muirfield finish, Woods enjoyed some vacation time in the Bahamas with his two children before playing a practice round on Tuesday at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, venue for next week’s PGA Championship.

Woods will play the first two rounds at Firestone in the company of exciting 21-year-old Japanese Hideki Matsuyama, who also tied for sixth at the British Open and has already triumphed three times on his home tour.

No time to rest on laurels for U.S. Open champion Rose

Winning his first major title at the U.S. Open in June has unquestionably been the golfing highlight of Justin Rose’s career, but the Englishman said it also taught him the lesson of never resting on his laurels.

Rose tied for 13th at the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship and then missed the cut at the British Open 12 days ago in his next two starts, proof that every week on the circuit comes with the slate wiped clean.

“Coming into this week as a major winner, the way I view it is that it really shouldn’t make any difference,” he told reporters on Wednesday while preparing for Thursday’s opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

“The golf course doesn’t know that. Each and every week you’ve got to build a whole new body of work. If you keep coming back to the past and resting on your laurels and being U.S. Open champ, that doesn’t work.

Rose felt he had gone into the British Open at Muirfield a little under-prepared, and ultimately paid the price as he missed the cut for only the second time in 11 starts on the 2013 PGA Tour.

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