Friday, February 23, 2018
Golf

Defending champ Gary Woodland brings new swing to Transitions Championship

PALM HARBOR — Defending Transitions champ Gary Woodland returns to Innisbrook slightly different than he was last year. Woodland hired swing coach Butch Harmon at the beginning of this year and has been tweaking his swing.

"It's definitely more challenging than I thought," Woodland said. "I didn't really anticipate making a big swing change, but it's bigger than I thought. It's more mentally tough than anything."

Woodland was optimistic after his tie for 29th at the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral last week. Since his swing change in January, Woodland's goal has been to have things figured out by the Masters in three weeks. He says he can feel his game coming around, but it's a much different feeling than it was last year.

"Last year I was riding a lot of confidence and playing well," Woodland said. "This year, we've been working with the golf swing a little more. I can hit more shots this year than I could last year, and last week was the first time I started making putts. To see putts go in the hole, now I know my swing is not too far away."

Sponsorship update: Andy Pazder, executive vice president and chief of operations for the PGA Tour, has no doubt there will be a Tour stop in Palm Harbor next year.

"We're confident that when the 2013 schedule comes out this tournament will be right where it is, in the heart of the Florida swing," Pazder said. "We'll find the right fit with another company. We think we'll have success and we think we'll have it fairly quickly."

This is the last year of a four-year deal to have Transitions Optical as the title sponsor. The 2013 PGA Tour schedule is usually finalized before Thanksgiving.

Glover back from injury: Lucas Glover has played in the Transitions Championship every year he has been eligible. But this year was hit or miss due to a sprained MCL in his right knee that he injured paddleboarding.

Glover tried to play in the season opener in Hawaii, but pulled out before the first round. He spent more than a month without swinging a club before slowly getting back into golf shape. He says he's 100 percent and expects to be competitive.

What are his expectations?

"To win," Glover said. "I wasn't going to come back unless I could compete. I have no qualms about saying that. My goal was to be prepared to win on the week I come back."

Today: The Pro-Am begins with 7:45 a.m. tee times. The second wave of players tees off starting at 12:30 p.m. Some notable pros include Luke Donald, John Daly, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els.

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