Golf

Woods calm about travails; others fret

Tiger Woods, left, listened to swing coach Sean Foley as they walked up the fifth fairway during a practice round for The Players Championship on Tuesday.
Tiger Woods, left, listened to swing coach Sean Foley as they walked up the fifth fairway during a practice round for The Players Championship on Tuesday. ASSOCIATED PRESS

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Tiger Woods is about the only person not in a panic about his game.

These remain curious times for the guy trying to show he can still dominate golf as he once did. In his last four tournaments, Woods walked off the course in the middle of the final round at Doral with tightness in his left Achilles tendon, won by five shots at Bay Hill for his first PGA Tour title in 30 months, was an also-ran at the Masters with his worst performance as a pro and missed the cut at Quail Hollow for only the eighth time in his career.

In the absence of trophies, there is no shortage of opinions.

Peter Alliss, the player-turned-broadcaster, said before his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame that Woods is "gone at the moment." Nick Faldo, a six-time major champion who works for CBS Sports and Golf Channel, said Woods no longer has the self-belief that made him No. 1 for all those years. Brandel Chamblee, a journeyman on the PGA Tour and now an analyst for Golf Channel, said Woods should fire Sean Foley and call his old coach, Butch Harmon.

"And I know he'll never do that because he's letting his ego get in the way of common sense," Chamblee said on a conference call for The Players Championship, which starts Thursday.

Woods shot back with subtlety at the TV analysts.

"I can understand that everyone has an opinion, and he's entitled to his. But he's no longer playing anymore, so, so be it," Woods said of Chamblee, who won once in 380 starts in his PGA Tour career.

As for Faldo's comments on his self-belief?

"I always find it interesting since they're not in my head," Woods said. "They must have some kind of superpower I don't know about."

If he is looking for good vibes to turn his fortunes, the TPC Sawgrass might not be the best place.

No other course on his regular schedule has given him more fits. In 2010, returning to the scene where he made his first public appearance since the scandal in his personal life, he withdrew halfway through the final round with what turned out to be a minor neck injury. Last year, he withdrew after nine holes and a 42 on his card with injuries to his left leg.

Woods is No. 7 in the world, so far back that he most likely couldn't get to the top unless he won his next three tournaments.

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