THOUSAND OAKS, California: Tiger Woods (pictured), buoyed by a return to form in 2012, is hoping 2013 will yield the one thing that in his opinion makes a season great: a major golf title.
“Any time you get a chance to be part of history and put your name on the biggest trophies in our sport, it’s a great year,” said Woods, who owns 14 major titles but hasn’t triumphed in one of the game’s four premier events since 2008.
Woods spoke yesterday at Sherwood Country Club, where he’s preparing to defend his title in the World Challenge invitational that he hosts for the benefit of his charitable foundation.
He birdied the final two holes to defeat compatriot Zach Johnson by one stroke here last year and end a global victory drought, and then went on to win three PGA Tour titles in 2012.
“I’m very excited because last year at this point in time I was still not quite where I wanted to be physically,” Woods said.
“This year has been fantastic in that regard. I’ve felt good. I’ve played a full schedule for the first time in a very long time, and I’m just very pleased with what I’ve done overall with my game.”
With various injuries behind him and the swing changes he has painstakingly implemented with coach Sean Foley apparently dialed in, Woods said all aspects of his game have come around.
“At the outset of the year I didn’t really putt well. Towards the end of the year I really started putting well. My short game has really come around ... I am becoming more consistent.”
He won his 72nd PGA Tour title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, then won the Memorial and the AT&T National.
The only real hiccup was his withdrawal from Doral during the final round with a sore Achilles tendon.
In 2013 it’s clear his focus will be on resuming his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major titles.
“I know how it feels when you win a major championship, and it feels incredible,” he said. “It lasts with you, and that’s something that I would like to have happen again.
“That’s something I haven’t done since ’08, so it’s something I can do next year,” he said of nabbing another major.
“Winning a major championship just takes it to a whole new level.”
One thing isn’t in Woods’s plans -- taking up membership on the European Tour.
Woods has never done so, even back when the European circuit required members to play just 11 events rather than the current 13.
That would include the four majors, World Golf Championships events, and now when it rolls around, the Ryder Cup.
European Tour chief George O’Grady, in an interview with Gulfnews.com, noted that it would be “quite doable for Tiger to join the European Tour”.
Playing as a member of both the European and US Tours would allow Woods to emulate the feat first achieved by Luke Donald, and matched by Rory McIlroy this year, of winning the money title on both tours.
But Woods said the schedule burden wasn’t worth it.
“I’ll make it real simple -- I’m not going to play the European Tour next year,” Woods said.
“It’s a bit much for me still,” Woods added. “I enjoy playing around the world, and I still always will. But I am going to play this (US) tour.” AFP