Tiger adds spark to Fall Finish

2011-09-28 11:15

New York - Tiger Woods will add some spark to the PGA Tour's Fall Finish when he make his return from a two-month layoff next week, hungry to compete after spending most of the year with nagging injuries.

The 14-time major champion, winless since his infamous sex scandal erupted in November of 2009, has fallen to 50th in the rankings and 115th on the PGA Tour money list with $629 863 from only eight events ahead of the Open.

"I'm looking forward to playing next week at the Frys," Woods said. "Things are definitely shaping up quickly."

Woods is secure in his 2012 playing rights based upon career achievements but he will face a field of players looking to win enough money from four October events to crack the top 125 in money and make the tour line-up.

"The whole fall finish is about guys trying to keep their job and trying to play well, finish the year off well like I did last year to keep my job," said Jonathan Byrd, who defends his title at the Shriners Hospitals Open this week.

"There's no pressure like trying to keep your job. And it brings out a lot of great golf."

Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship last month in his most recent start but has had time to work on his game since becoming healthy just before the year's final major tournament.

"Things are going great," Woods said. "I'm practicing very hard. I'm playing as much as I possibly can. My training sessions are great. My strength has come back. My explosiveness has come back. I'm starting to get my feels back."

Woods has hired Joe LaCava, former caddie for Dustin Johnson, to be his new bagman, replacing Steve Williams, who now caddies for Australian Adam Scott.

"We're going to wing it on the fly at the Frys," Woods said. "I hit the ball shorter than Dustin so he will have to get used to that."

Among top players Woods will face October 6-9 at CordeValle are three-time major winner Ernie Els of South Africa, two-time major winner Angel Cabrera of Argentina and 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa.

The Fall Finish concludes with the McGladrey Classic on October 13-16 and the final event October 20-23 at Disney World.

American David Mathis ranks 125th on the PGA money list with $563 752 with Roland Thatcher 126th at $554 804.

Among the notables trying to nab a top 125 spot and a secure berth at next year's Players Championship are 132nd Cabrera ($490 704) and 130th Oosthuizen ($515 165), although both carry exemptions into next year after major triumphs.

Others trying to move into the top 125 include Australian Steven Bowditch, Canada's Stephen Ames, England's Paul Casey and American Justin Leonard.