Woods, in China to promote golf, says swing changes starting to pay off

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Tiger Woods told an audience in China that he had fun on the front nine Sunday in the Masters and enjoyed being back in the competitive mix on the final day of a major.
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Associated Press

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Tiger Woods is crediting his new swing with helping bring back the fun and excitment in his game.

Woods was back at work Tuesday, promoting his sponsors and the game of golf in China less than 48 hours after a dramatic final round at the Masters.

“I hit the ball really well on the weekend and made some shots -- those are shots I know I can hit. That was fun and exciting,” Woods told a gathering at the Mission Hills Dongguan clubhouse near the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. “It’s really starting to feel pretty good. This week was a pretty good week.”

The 14-time major winner hasn’t won a title since returning from a five-month break after revelations of marital infidelity last year. At Augusta National on the weekend, he made a strong run, carding four birdies and an eagle on the front nine of the final round before faltering in the back nine and settling for a share of fourth place.

Speaking to reporters as he kicked off an Asian promotional tour for his clothing and equipment sponsor Nike Golf, Woods credited his work with swing coach Sean Foley since the PGA Championship last year as helping make the Masters a “good event.”

“I played well and unfortunately just came up a little short on the back nine. But it was a fun front nine on Sunday. That was fun. Had a blast,” he said. “It was fun being in the mix. Unfortunately didn’t get it done.”

Woods is acutely aware of his title drought. Asked to compare his training regimen at different stages in his career, Woods replied, with a laugh: “When I was 25, I was on tour and having a pretty good run out there at the time, won a few tournaments right about that age. And at 35, I haven’t won a thing.”

Woods was conducting a clinic for junior golfers later Tuesday before moving onto Beijing and then to Seoul, South Korea.

He said he was impressed with the growth of golf in China, where the sport is booming, and has predicted Chinese golfers will break into the top 50 in the world.

“It’s been really neat as a player who has come here for a number of years to see the development of the fans and their knowledge of the game and their enthusiasm for the sport,” he said. “These fans are certainly much more knowledgeable now.

“The growth of golf has been just incredible. A lot more kids are coming out to events whereas when I first came here that wasn’t the case.”