Golf

Tiger Woods eyes ninth Firestone win

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Woods has won at Firestone a record eight times in his career (©GettyImages)
Woods has won at Firestone a record eight times in his career (©GettyImages).

Tiger Woods will tee off at Firestone in the final WGC event of the 2014 PGA Tour calendar needing a strong show of form if he is to work his way into the top 125 who qualify for the end-of-season FedEx Cup playoffs. 

The 38-year-old is currently languishing 90 spots below in 215th, and after his 69th-placed finish at the Open left lingering doubts as to whether the 14-time Major winner is worthy of a spot on the US team for Gleneagles, he knows a ninth win in Ohio would go a long way towards his chances.

However, he could not have picked a better venue given his incomparable record at the Akron course that has yielded eight victories already - including two separate occasions oof three consecutive wins.

Excited

"I am excited to be back," Woods told reporters.

"I have had some pretty good memories here. I've had some great rounds and certainly some great moments on this property, so any time I come back here, it's always a good, solid feeling. I am looking forward to this week.

"There are certain golf courses - here, Torrey (Pines), Bay Hill, even Augusta (National) - no matter what my form is going into that week at those particular venues, I just somehow feel good.

"It doesn't mean I am going to play well but I still have that feeling. Unfortunately one year, I didn't play very well here, I finished second to last, but over the years I have finished first eight times. That's a pretty good stat."

US PGA

It's better than that. Firestone is the scene of his last victory on the American circuit, after last year's sensational second-round 61 helped him on his way to a comfortable seven-stroke victory over the then-defending champion Keegan Bradley. 

He could certainly do with a repeat performance this week, with the season's final Major - the US PGA - set to get underway at Valhalla next week, another course which has been kind to him in the past. 

Woods did, however, admit that every aspect of his game will need to improve after his finish at Hoylake left many unimpressed. 

Explosive

"Everything. Everything needs to get a little better. I just need to be a bit more efficient in what I'm doing. My good shots are still really good, my bad shots need to be in positions where I know I should miss greens with the golf ball, instead of places where I have been missing it.

"I just need to keep progressing. This is only my third tournament back since back surgery ... it takes a little bit of time. I still need to get much stronger than I am now, and I still need to get much more explosive than I am now."

Back-to-back wins in the coming weeks will guarantee his place in the playoffs, but that would be a monumental effort given this week's WGC is just his third tournament back following life-changing back surgery in March.

If anyone can achieve that feat, though, it is Woods, who has won 79 times on the PGA Tour in his career and can move to within two of equalling the record set by legend Sam Snead if he were to add a ninth Bridgestone title to his bulging trophy cabinet. 

Topics:
PGA Tour
Ryder Cup
Golf
Tiger Woods
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