Returning Woods targets Memorial victory

Woods has one victory and a string of top 10 finishes since his return after knee surgery.
Tiger Woods begins the build-up to his defense of the U.S. Open crown by bidding for a fourth title at the prestigious Memorial tournament in Ohio.

The event, hosted by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, has attracted one of the strongest fields of the PGA Tour season, including the world number one who missed out last year due to his knee injury. Woods subsequently won his 14th major at Torrey Pines before undergoing reconstructive knee surgery which sidelined him for nine months. Woods has a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and has not finished outside the top 10 in five other strokeplay tournaments he has played since his comeback. His last appearance came as he finished eighth at the Players Championship and the 33-year-old has been practicing hard with coach Hank Haney. “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,” Woods wrote in his monthly newsletter on his personal Web site But Woods, despite his good record since returning, is anxious to step up a gear. “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,” he added.

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Woods won the Memorial for three straight years from 1999, but will face tough opposition at Muirfield Village from six other players in the world’s top 10, including last year’s winner Kenny Perry. With Phil Mickleson sidelined as his wife Amy battles cancer, world number three Paul Casey is the next highest-ranked player to Woods. Australian Geoff Ogilvy, Colonial winner Steve Stricker, Fijian Vijay Singh and last year’s two-time major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland are the other top 10 players. The tournament starts on Thursday with the U.S. Open at Bethpage in New York from June 18-21. Host Nicklaus won 18 majors during his incredible career, a record being chased by Woods.