FORMER World No1 Tiger Woods insists he’s determined to make up for lost time in 2012 after ending his two-year title drought on Sunday.
The 35-year-old rolled back the years with a birdie-birdie finish to win the Chevron World Challenge in California by one shot from compatriot Zach Johnson, to register his first tournament victory since the Australian Masters in 2009.
With the fitness and personal issues that sent him into a spiral of decline now seemingly behind him, the American believes he’s in condition to challenge the game’s elite next year and add to his haul of 14 Major titles.
“I feel pretty good going into next year. I think if I have a good year I should be on the ballot for comeback player of the year, so I’m excited about that,” said Woods, whose victory propelled him back up to 21st in the world rankings having dropped below 50 earlier this year.
“I missed in 2008 the back half of the Majors; this year was a similar thing. Unfortunately I missed the middle section. So it was tough. It was really tough. Probably more difficult than people can imagine.
“Even 2008 was a lot harder than people might think. Because even though I won with my leg the way it was, I don’t like missing major championships. I really don’t.”
With his physical ailments no longer a hindrance, Woods believes he’s finally in a position to again showcase the attacking brand of golf that made him such a prolific winner, prior to his injuries.
He said: “I’m pleased with the way that I’m able to fix my swing out there. I know what I need to do to do it right. Under the gun I kind of got back into an old pattern. When the pressure was on the most the last two holes, I hit three of the best shots I hit all week. That’s very exciting for me.
“Last year I was very one dimensional how I played. I played only right to left. I did not have the swing of position where I could get a left to right ball at all. This year it really does feel exciting, because I’m able to hit both shots.”
SAM TORRANCE | EYE OF THE TIGER
Tiger Woods’s return to winning ways after a two-year title drought may have come as a surprise to some, but not City A.M. golf columnist Sam Torrance, who predicted the former world No1 would pose a huge threat at next year’s Majors, having noted his impressive performances at the Australian Masters and Presidents Cup last month.