Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Tiger Woods warns young guns not to write off old guard

Tiger Woods warns young guns not to write off old guard

The Valspar has attracted its best-ever field this year - Spieth, Rory, Sergio, Henrik, Tiger, among others.

The last time they played was at the Phoenix Open in 2015, when Woods was a mess with his short game. He's in a much better place now with his golf game, as he comes off a 12th-place finish at The Honda Classic. All the while, the golf legend who has been dealing with injury is feeling healthier. "And I can handle two weeks in a row". "I've only played 10 rounds", said Woods, who missed the cut at Riviera and tied for 23rd at Torrey Pines in his first two events of the year.

"I'm really excited where my game's at right now", he said. The PGA Tour Champions takes two weeks off after the Toshiba Classic. McIlroy hasn't won a tournament since 2016.

"I just want to keep progressing". But 10 rounds, it's not that many. "I also need to get used to putting on bent [grass] as that's going to be a little bit different".

Phil provides some encouragement.

With John Senden (2014) the only Australian victor at Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead course, this week won't be any easier as the tournament boasts its strongest field in years. To that end, Mickelson is 47 and has arthritis.

"If you told me five, six years ago I'd have this opportunity I certainly would pounce on it to be able to play with the greatest player in the game and on the rebound and obviously playing some great golf". There is a long way to go. If Mickelson can break through his drought with a win, why can't Casey?

While demanding, Innisbrook is a favorite among Tour pros. Incredibly, he is still only 24 years old but already he has won three majors and needs only the US PGA Championship to complete the full set. A round of -2 later in the week could make some real waves. Tiger agreed, and now he'll have played four times in a five-week span.

McIlroy will tee off in the morning on Thursday, part of the 7:45 pairing with Gary Woodland and Justin Rose. This is the eighth straight year that four players have won the opening four events on the PGA Tour Champions schedule.

Not only is Stenson back in action, he has been thrown to the wolves in a grouping with Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth.

The tournament was won previous year by Adam Hadwin, of Canada.

TV: Friday, 5-7 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 4:30-7 p.m. (Golf Channel).

The former Masters victor said the narrow fairways at Innisbrook would provide a thorough examination of his game before next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, his last tournament before Augusta National. Couple that with the tournament preceding it being in Mexico rather than, say, Miami, and it can lead to some people bowing out. Still, this might be the Valspar's most loaded field yet.

Unusually for a West Coast Florida course, the track features some fairly significant changes in elevation - up to 80 feet. Those numbers make sense for a player of his caliber, and reflect his win at the Wyndham and T13 at the PGA Championship in August. This includes, of course, the person who has been grabbing all the headlines this time around. He is getting his wisdom teeth removed. But as they approach the twilight of their careers, gently bridging the gap between Ryder Cup players and potential future captaincies, they have begun to focus more on their similarities than differences. Ernie Els once considered it the best tournament course in Florida.

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