3 Lessons Learned from Tiger Woods' Trip to Abu Dhabi for HSBC Championship

Immer Chriswell@@immerrangeCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2012

3 Lessons Learned from Tiger Woods' Trip to Abu Dhabi for HSBC Championship

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    So, Tiger Woods decided to skip Torrey Pines and go to Abu Dhabi to start his season.

    Why was this a good decision off the bat? There was a better field at Abu Dhabi and a lot more money.

    This decision looks to have paid off, as Woods posted a T3 finish in a stacked international field.

    What exactly did Tiger Woods show us, though?

No. 1: When He's On, He's Pretty Untouchable

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    Tiger showed in the third round that his best is still the best of anyone's best. Confusing?

    In other words, when Tiger is at the top of his game, he's at the top of the world. A bogey-free 66 with room to go even lower is what we were accustomed to with Tiger Woods in the past.

    When Tiger gets some confidence on the greens, the ball always is on track for the hole. Seeing that from Tiger is a real hope for the future. 

No. 2: There's Room for Improvement

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    Although Tiger did play fantastic for his first event of the year, there is plenty to build off.

    Who remembers a round where Tiger Woods went bogey free and only shot two under par? And included in that round were several missed short opportunities? 

    How about where Tiger jumped out to two under in the final round, then backtracked to lose the lead?

    No doubt, Tiger played a lot of good shots, but he wouldn't even deny that today more than ever proved he still can improve daily.

No. 3: This Isn't the Old Tiger Woods' Golf

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    The old Tiger Woods didn't hit fairways and greens like a machine and play the odds when he was putting.

    The old Tiger Woods would grind out errant tee shots, bunker lies and tricky chips and cash in on the opportune putts that he had to gain strokes.

    What we saw from Tiger at Abu Dhabi appears to be a new theory, focused on playing from a reasonable position, maybe not the farthest off the tee (Rory McIlroy blew by Woods several times), and trying to lock in with his irons. The more you're on the green, the more chances to make a birdie putt.

    Overall, this looks like Tiger isn't thinking about his swing as much. Maybe he slipped back on Sunday, but overall you can't deny Woods' comfort with what he's done with Sean Foley. Let's see how it plays out at Pebble Beach.

    Check back to see what we learn from Tiger after the Pro-Am.