Tiger Woods gets one last crack at Firestone

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After winning six tournaments in 20 worldwide starts a year ago to contend for No. 1 in the world, Hideki Matsuyama returns to this World Golf Championship this week having fallen to No. 16 in the rankings.

The 14-time major victor made it into the field at Ohio's Firestone Country Club thanks to his joint sixth-place finish at last month's Open at Carnoustie in Scotland.

Woods, whose jump to No. 50 got him into the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this week, is now planning to play in five of the next six tournaments, including next week's PGA Championship in St. Louis.

But the 42-year-old has recorded four top-10 finishes in 12 events this season and had several chances to win, most recently in the Open Championship at Carnoustie where he led by a shot with eight holes to play. This year, his career has continued to trend nicely with a couple of impressive top-five finishes at the WGC-Mexico Championship and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. I feel like my body is good.

"There isn't just one", Woods said.

"I made some tweaks and some changes in my game and it paid off", Woods said. But then again, I have to manage this as quite a bit of golf I'm going to ask my body to go through at tournament speed for basically the next nearly two months.

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He has not been eligible for a WGC until he slipped into the top 50 in the world with his tie for sixth two weeks ago at The Open. Add up the consistency over the last four weeks and the way Woods played on Thursday and you've got some strong evidence that Woods is going to win sometime soon.

"This event has been very special to me over the years", Woods said. Woods has dominated at the event, winning eight times and earning more than $10 million at a venue where he is embraced by the crowd.

"I went from just hoping to be able to play the Tour to know that I feel like I can, I certainly can win again".

Woods will contest the opening round in the company of Australia's Jason Day. "Today I certainly wasn't as sharp as I wanted it to be, but I shot 4-under par today". He wound up three shots behind, with the only consolation being a spot at Firestone. "I mean honestly we couldn't have got it easier this morning, no wind, very soft - you had to hit very poor shots to get it off line or to miss greens".

"I play 36 holes all the time at home", he said.

Asked how he, as vice captain, might pitch himself to Furyk as a player right now, Woods replied with a big smile, "What would be the word?"

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