Woods irked by journalist

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IOL pic mar1 golf tiger woods

Associated Press

Tiger Woods speaks to the media after his practice round for the Honda Classic golf tournament in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on Wednesday.

Palm Beach Gardens - A testy Tiger Woods shut down questions about former coach Hank Haney's book about him on Wednesday in a sometimes contentious pre-tournament press conference at the Honda Classic.

“I've already talked about everything,” Woods said in a terse exchange with a reporter who pressed him on Haney's claim that Woods considered giving up golf to pursue a military career.

“You're a beauty,” an irked Woods said. “Have a good day.”

Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said this week after excerpts of Haney's book The Big Miss were released that the coach had twisted Woods' admiration for the military “into something negative”.

In January, Woods criticised Haney, telling ESPN the coach's decision to write the book was “unprofessional and very disappointing”.

Woods worked with Haney from 2004 to 2009, during which time Woods won six of his 14 major titles.

“It's still the same,” Woods said on Wednesday of his attitude toward Haney and the book, which is due out in March before the Masters. “Nothing has changed in that regard at all.”

Haney's book, and Woods's reluctance to discuss it, overshadowed the fact that this week marks the American's return to the Honda Classic, now held at PGA National, for the first time since he played the event as a 17-year-old amateur in 1993.

Woods, who hasn't won a tour-level event since the Australian Masters in November of 2009 - just before the infamous sex scandal that led to his split from Elin Nordegren - has now moved from Orlando to the Miami area.

That makes this South Florida tournament a good fit between the World Golf Championships Match Play Championship last week and the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral March 8-11.

“It's just nice, being at home, sleeping in your own bed,” Woods said. “We travel quite a bit for our sport, and we spend a lot of time on the road. So it's always nice to have time to be able to play and stay at home at the same time.”

Woods, who is chasing the all-time record of 18 major titles won by Jack Nicklaus, shared third in January at Abu Dhabi in his 2012 season opener and shared 15th in his first US tour event of the year at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

The former world number one won the World Challenge, a limited field, unofficial event that he hosts for charity, in December.

Last week he was bounced by Nick Watney in the second round of the WGC Match Play in Arizona, where he blamed a balky putter for his inability to go further.

Woods said he'd used video to help him address his putting problems.

“I spent almost four hours the other day putting two different sessions,” Woods said. “My posture was off. The way the club was releasing was off. A lot of things were off...”

“When I feel off with my alignment and my posture, I don't make good strokes,” he said. “Once I get my posture and everything lined up, putter just flows.”

Woods will be paired for the first two rounds this week week England's Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter. The 36-year-old said his aim this week will be the same as in every tournament he enters - to win.

“That has not changed since I was in junior golf and there's no reason for it to change now,” Woods said. - Sapa-AFP


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