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Tiger Woods returns to father's putting lessons

2011 MASTERS
Venue: Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia Date: Thursday 7 April - Sunday 10 April Coverage: Highlights on BBC1, BBC2 and BBC HD Friday - Sunday (check listings for details), also streamed online; coverage on BBC Radio 5 live; full text coverage on BBC Sport website; also live on Sky Sports


Tiger Woods
Woods is currently ranked number five in the world

Former world number one Tiger Woods is returning to the teachings of his late father in a bid to improve his putting ahead of next month's Masters.

Woods' strength on the greens has faded of late and he is without a victory since the 2009 Australian Masters.

But having revisited his old routines, the 35-year-old says his putting stroke is now "more sound, more solid".

Britain's Ian Poulter will have an anti-histamine injection to control allergies ahead of the Augusta event.

The world number 15, who is a long-term hay fever sufferer, underwent tests this month that revealed he was allergic to almost all types of grass and trees.

"I just wanted really to find out and do the tests to see if there is anything I can take or anything I can do to not be as affected as much as I am," said Poulter, ahead of this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

I took for granted my putting, and didn't really spend a lot of time doing it. And I was expecting to go out there and putt well every day. I've got to log in the hours, so I went back to doing that and this year I've putted much better

Tiger Woods

"I'm probably going to have a kind of anti-histamine injection before I get to Augusta for the Masters next month just to hopefully kick that in, because it's especially bad there."

The 35-year-old said he was particularly concerned about the problem ahead of playing at the heavily-wooded Augusta National course in Georgia.

"Augusta National is very strong pollen. The pine is very, very strong. You see it on the car when you come out. If you play in the morning and you come out in the morning, the whole windscreen is covered in pollen," said Poulter, who is also going to take a serum orally over a number of months to build up his immune system.

"Wearing sunglasses for me is a huge plus when it is very, very strong like that, because if it's all over the windscreen and you're not wearing glasses, it's going to be in your eyes. So they have definitely helped. But I still get affected, so I take eyedrops and tablets."

Along with Poulter, Woods is preparing for the US Masters by competing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he hopes to see improvement in his putting after returning to some old practice drills.

"I went back to all of my old stuff that my dad and I used to work on," revealed Woods, whose father Earl died five years ago. "And that's when I felt that my stroke started becoming more sound, more solid, my speed became better.

"It feels natural because I've done it for so long. I just got away from it and now I'm going back to it.

"I don't know what that dude saw in my game, but he really knew putting and he knew my stroke. My dad really knew my stroke.

"I miss him for a lot more reasons than just the putting, but as far as bouncing ideas off of him and what I was feeling and what he would say, I do miss that certainly."

Ian Poulter
Poulter recently competed, along with Woods, in the Tavistock Cup

However, Woods admits that his putting problems stretch back further than his recent troubles, during which time he has dropped to number five in the world.

"Probably way back in 2005, 2006, somewhere in there, I would get on runs for two or three tournaments in a row where I would really putt well and then I would just lose it," claimed Woods.

"I took for granted my putting, and didn't really spend a lot of time doing it. And I was expecting to go out there and putt well every day. I've got to log in the hours, so I went back to doing that and this year I've putted much better."

Under new coach Sean Foley, Woods has undergone what he admits are the most extreme swing changes of his career in a bid to recapture the form that helped him win 14 majors.

The American revealed that his father's suggestions for his putting release have the same fundamentals as those Foley has attempted to incorporate into other parts of his game.

"It's exactly the same. What Foley is trying to get me to do with my full swing and how he wants me to release it [is] how I used to release my putter," he said. "That's one of the reasons why I've gone back to my old stuff that my dad and I used to work on, and it feels natural, because I've done it for so long."

Woods, who has won six times at Bay Hill, including twice in succession before missing last year's event, added: "It's taken a little bit of time, but then again I've showed some good signs of late. That was back to what I know I can do. I've had good practice sessions, so I'm really looking forward to tomorrow."



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see also
Mickelson alters Masters build up
14 Mar 11 |  Golf
Woods hits form in Tavistock Cup
14 Mar 11 |  Golf
Woods schedule affected by family
09 Mar 11 |  Golf
McDowell passes Woods in rankings
25 Feb 11 |  Golf
Poulter and Woods exit Match Play
24 Feb 11 |  Golf
Woods sorry for spitting incident
14 Feb 11 |  Golf
Woods seeks winning end to 2010
01 Dec 10 |  Golf
Poulter clinches Hong Kong Open
21 Nov 10 |  Golf
Poulter torn between US & Europe
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Woods focus turns to major record
02 Nov 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
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