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Devil Ball Golf

Balky putter once again an issue for Tiger Woods

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Tiger Woods / Associated Press

One week after Tiger Woods crashed out of the Accenture Match Play by missing a five-footer to extend his match against Nick Watney, he produced more of the same on the greens during his opening round at the Honda Classic.

Prior to the start of Thursday's round, Woods talked at length about the time he'd spent not only working on his putting, but tweaking his flat stick as well -- all in an effort to pinpoint the problem behind the one club in his bag that's given him the most trouble over the last couple of months.

Wood may be putting in the effort with the putter, but after firing a 1-over 71 at the Honda Classic in round one, it's clear the practice isn't paying off just yet. That seemed to be the bad news for the 14-time major winner.

The good news was he actually showed signs of life in other areas of his game. After spraying it all over the course at the Match Play, Wood hit over 70 percent of his fairways and 83 percent of his greens in regulation (tied for second in the field), two numbers you'd assume would have put him in perfect position to post a good round.

But the putter kept him from making the most of an above average ball striking day. With the exception of Johnson Wagner (who had 36 putts), Woods was second-to-last in the field in putting with 34 putts (1.867 per hole).

Good play from tee to green coupled with poor putting is going to cancel each other out most of the time, and at this point, that seem to be a normal round for Woods. He's going to have good rounds and bad, but until he can somehow find a way to piece everything together for four rounds (I keep saying that, but he still hasn't been able to string four good rounds together since he returned), rounds like Thursday's are going to keep popping up.

That could change tomorrow or next week at Doral -- it's impossible to gauge where Woods is headed at the moment -- but the way Tiger's playing and the struggles he's going through with his putter, you'd have to think he's still some ways off from getting everything to click.

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