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Transitions notebook: Defending champion Woodland takes new swing at things

PALM HARBOR — Things will be slightly different at Innisbrook for defending Transitions champion Gary Woodland. He hired swing coach Butch Harmon at the beginning of this year and has been tweaking his swing.

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

Woodland was optimistic after his tie for 29th last week at the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral. Since his swing change in January, Woodland's goal has been to have things figured out by the Masters, which is 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," he 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."

Transitions Optical is in its final year of a four-year deal. 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 because of a sprained MCL in his right knee sustained while paddleboarding.

Glover tried to play in the season opener in Hawaii, but pulled out before the first round. He went more than a month without swinging a club before slowly getting back into golf shape.

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 tees off starting at 12:30 p.m. Notable pros include Luke Donald, John Daly, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els.

>>FAST FACTS

Transitions Championship

What: 72-hole PGA Tour event

When/where: Thursday-Sunday; Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, Copperhead Course, Palm Harbor

Defending champion: Gary Woodland

Schedule: Today — Transitions Championship pro-am; Thursday — first round; Friday — second round; Saturday — third round; Sunday — final round

Tickets: transitionschampionship.com, Publix supermarkets. Daily tickets are $40.

TV: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m., Golf Channel; Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m., Golf Channel; 3 p.m., Ch. 8

Transitions notebook: Defending champion Woodland takes new swing at things 03/13/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 9:15pm]
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