Tiger Woods starts anew at Doral

Updated: March 8, 2012, 7:40 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

DORAL, Fla. -- A few days after shooting his best official score in 2½ years, Tiger Woods is ready to get back to work, confident in his swing but saying the 62 he shot last weekend won't mean much when the WGC-Cadillac Championship begins.

"It's a whole new golf course. It doesn't count," Woods said Wednesday. "That tournament's over with. Whether you missed the cut or win the tournament, it's over. Now we are on to a new week, a new golf course, and have to learn it and be ready by Thursday."

Woods, however, saw a good bit of recent work on his game come together at the Honda Classic, where he finished with a birdie-eagle flourish Sunday to briefly pull within 1 shot of Rory McIlroy, who went on to win the tournament and move to No. 1 in the world.

The second-place tie was Woods' best finish in any official worldwide tournament (he won the unofficial Chevron World Challenge in December) since he won the Australian Masters in November 2009.

Woods, who is ranked 16th in the world and once held the top spot for a total of 623 weeks, returns to a place where he has won three times -- twice when a full-field PGA Tour event was played at Doral, and once as a WGC tournament. He also has won this particular WGC event, which has been played at other venues, a total of six times.

The tournament has attracted all of the top 50 in the official world golf rankings, including McIlroy, who will play with No. 2 Luke Donald and No. 3 Lee Westwood during the first two rounds.

Woods is grouped with Nick Watney and Sergio Garcia for the first two rounds. He tees off at 12:40 p.m. ET Thursday.

Woods goes into the tournament having finished third, first, tied for third, tied for 15th and tied for second in his past five stroke-play events. Putting had been holding him back, but Woods missed just three from inside of 10 feet at PGA National last weekend. Also, he leads the PGA Tour in total driving.

"We had to dedicate so much time to driving, and getting the ball in the fairway," Woods said of his work with coach Sean Foley. "Hence, I'm No. 1 in total driving. We fixed that. Now it's on to other aspects of the game. You have to take up and focus on the weaknesses, make them strengths. And we've done that and we still have some more weaknesses to look at and to fix."

This is Woods' fifth tournament of the year and he has committed to play the Arnold Palmer Invitational -- which he has won six times -- in two weeks. That will be his last start prior to the Masters, which begins April 5.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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