Woods: The game has changed

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Tiger Woods, set to return from a long layoff this week, has admitted that the game of golf has changed since his heyday.

Tiger Woods, set to return from a long layoff this week, has admitted that the game of golf has changed since his heyday.

Woods, a 14-time major champion and winner of countless other tournaments, has not won for nearly two years, and in his absence a host of younger players have come through the ranks to make their presence felt.

Nine of the last 10 majors have been won by first time winners, while this past Sunday Scott Stallings became the sixth rookie and 10th first-time winner to win on the PGA Tour this year.

“There have been a ton of new faces out here winning golf tournaments – first time winners. So the game is probably switching a little bit,” said Woods on Tuesday.

“There were a ton of years there where Phil (Mickelson), myself, Vijay (Singh), Ernie (Els), Goose (Retief Goosen), Jim (Furyk) were all winning a bunch of tournaments.

“And now there are a lot of new guys, so the game’s changing and it’s fun to see.”

Woods is far from ready to give up, though, and he enters this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with the same attitude he’s always had – expecting to win, near two-year drought and three-month absence or not.

Woods also said the prospect of beating the new kids on the block excites him, and added: “I’m just focused on trying to win golf tournaments, that’s it.”

The former world number one could hardly have chosen a better tournament and course to return to than than the Bridgestone at Firestone – he’s a seven-time winner here. Even by his own lofty standards, that’s mighty impressive.

Last year was a different story, though, as he finished joint-78th out of 80 on 18 over par.

Still, Woods showed no signs of a limp as he played nine practice holes at Firestone on Tuesday, and he’s eager to make a fresh start.

“I’m good to go,” he said.

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