Tiger Woods was on the grounds at TPC Sawgrass on Monday, a welcome sign for fans who were curious just how serious the neck strain that kept him out of last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational was.
Woods took part in a three-hour range session on Monday in which he worked his way through the bag, but the most eye-popping portion of his Monday at The Players Championship came when he was on the practice putting green.
As Woods struck five-footers using the gate-drill, 33-year-old instructor Matt Killen looked on, took video and conversed with Woods about his stroke, leading many to believe that he has brought on the Kentucky native as an instructor.
Neither Woods nor Killen would comment publicly — Woods is set to meet with the press on Tuesday — but GolfDigest.com’s Brian Wacker reports that Killen has made visits to South Florida recently to meet with Woods.
Killen is no stranger to the Tour scene. He’s worked most recently and notably with both Justin Thomas and J.B. Holmes, fellow Bluegrass State natives. He also works with Bud Cauley and Blayne Barber.
“His stroke looked good,” Killen told Wacker after the session with Woods on Monday. “His putting is better. I like what I see.”
Woods’ putting has come under scrutiny even despite three top-20 finishes to start the 2019 campaign. Most recently at the WGC-Mexico Championship, Woods had six three-putts over his four rounds at Club de Golf Chapultepec. The week prior at The Genesis Open, Woods had four three-putts in his final round alone, leading him to call the event the worst week he’s had with the putter in his career.
Having only played 12 official tournament rounds on the PGA Tour in 2019, Woods’ strokes gained: putting statistic is has not yet reached the threshold to be included in Tour stats, but he would rank 80th in the category given how he’s performed thus far in 2019.
Woods is scheduled to tee off at 1:27 p.m. on Thursday alongside defending Players Champion Webb Simpson and reigning Masters Champion Patrick Reed.