The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Woods ready for vagaries of La Costa

Carlsbad: Unpredictability is likely to be the watchword at this week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

The vagaries of head-to-head golf are well documented and the record of twice winner Tiger Woods in the opening World Golf Championships (WGC) event of the year is a prime example.

The world No.1, who returns to action after withdrawing from the Nissan Open three days ago because of flu, has reached the final three times at La Costa Resort and Spa.

However, Woods has also experienced early disappointment, losing to Peter ’Malley at the first stage in 2002 and to another Australian, Nick ’Hern, in the second round last year. “You never know what you’re going to get,” Woods told reporters at La Costa on Tuesday as he prepared for his first-round match on Wednesday against Canada’s Stephen Ames.

“Basically when you play matchplay events, it’s the final round on the first day because anything can happen at any time.

“And it’s a totally different mindset. It’s right from the first tee, it’s a boat race for 18 holes. If you’re one of the top players in the world, anyone can shoot a low number at any time,” added the 30-year-old American, champion at La Costa in 2003 and 2004.

“Playing 18 holes is totally different than a 72-hole marathon. It’s important to get off to a positive start.

“It’s hard in an 18-hole match to come from behind, once you get three or four down. In a 36-hole match or stroke play event, you can do that.”

Woods, who won his first two tournaments of the year via playoffs, is a WGC specialist, having won 10 times in 19 individual starts.

Despite his two early departures at La Costa, he boasts a win-loss ratio of 21-4 in six appearances in the event. (Reuters)

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