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Tiger Woods motivated for Muirfield

Three-times champion Tiger Woods has extra reason to be motivated for this week’s Memorial tournament after being forced to watch last year’s edition from the sidelines while recovering from knee surgery.

The American world number one has always enjoyed competing in the PGA Tour event hosted by Jack Nicklaus which attracts one of the strongest fields of the season. Victory, as always, is uppermost in Woods’s mind.

“I’m really looking forward to competing again at the Memorial Tournament and I’ve been working hard on my game since the Players Championship,” the 33-year-old wrote in his monthly newsletter issued on Tuesday.

Woods has triumphed once and posted four other top-10s in his six Tour starts this year since coming back from reconstructive knee surgery, a record that would be the envy of most his peers.

“(It) isn’t too bad considering how long I was away from the game after my knee surgery,” the 14-times major winner said.

“It’s just frustrating when you’re in position to win and don’t get it done. I just need more repetitions.

“I just need to fine-tune everything. My reconstructed left knee enables me to finally make the swing that my instructor, Hank Haney, and I have been working on for years.”

Woods, who won the Memorial tournament for three consecutive years from 1999, heads a strong field at Muirfield Village Golf Club including six other players in the world’s top 10.

Third-ranked Briton Paul Casey is competing, along with Australian Geoff Ogilvy (fifth), Americans Kenny Perry (seventh) and Steve Stricker (eighth), Fijian Vijay Singh (ninth) and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington (10th).

Like Woods, defending champion Perry returns to a venue where he has won three times.

“This place is special to me,” said the 48-year-old American, who clinched his maiden PGA Tour title at the 1991 Memorial tournament in a playoff with Hale Irwin.

“I come to this place and the magic always happens for me here. This is by far the best place for me. If I retire, I need to build a house right on this golf course.”

Perry produced a near flawless three-under-par 69 in gusting winds to win last year’s title by two shots on one of the toughest layouts on the circuit.

According to fellow American Rocco Mediate, Muirfield Village will provide an ideal warm-up for this month’s U.S. Open at Bethpage in New York.

“The fairways are a little wider than most because of the slope here but, as far as preparing for the Open, it’s a great place,” Mediate said.

“The rough is a little high, not as high as it was last year but you don’t need it much here. Bethpage will be the same.”

The Memorial tournament starts on Thursday with the U.S. Open taking place from June 18-21 when Woods will defend the title he won in a gripping playoff with Mediate at Torrey Pines last year.


June 3, 2009

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