Tiger aims to make successful year ‘great’
Back at one of his happiest hunting grounds for this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Tiger Woods has spelt out what would transform a successful season for him on the PGA Tour into a great one.
The American world number two has triumphed three times on the US circuit in 2012 but has yet to add another major title to his career haul of 14 with his most recent coming at the 2008 US Open.
“Winning golf tournaments makes it successful, but winning a major makes it a great year,” Woods told reporters at Firestone Country Club on Wednesday.
“You can go from having a ‘so-so’ year to all of a sudden winning one major and ... it’s a great year because you’re part of history when you do something like that.
“Ernie has been consistent this year ... but then all of a sudden it just jumps you into a different category,” he said of South African Ernie Els who ended a 10-year victory drought at the majors by winning last month’s British Open at Royal Lytham.
Woods was in contention going into the weekend at the last two majors before fading, finishing joint 21st at the US Open and tying for third at the British Open.
The final major of the year, the PGA Championship, takes place next week at Kiawah Island in South Carolina and he would dearly love to take winning form there from Firestone where he has triumphed a record seven times.
“It’s nice knowing that we have a big event with the best players in the world here right before a major championship,” Woods said of the elite World Golf Championships event.
“This will be a nice way to get our games ready for next week but also really test us at the same time. Having back to back championships like this, it’s a positive thing.”
Woods has generally thrived at Firestone. In 12 appearances at the tree-lined venue, he has claimed seven titles while his only finishes outside the top four came in 2011 and last year.
“I look forward to playing it,” he said of the par-70 layout. “This is one of my favourites. It’s straightforward. It’s right in front of you. There’s no tricks. There’s no hidden things.”
A year ago, a rusty Woods tied for 37th here after ending a 12-week injury layoff. This week, though, is a very different story following his wins this season at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Memorial tournament and the AT&T National.
“I feel very comfortable where I am at because everything is progressing,” the 35-year-old American said. “This year I’ve taken the steps headed in the right direction and shot better scores and been more consistent.
“When you make changes like I’ve made in my game, it takes a little bit of time. But things are starting to click in now and to have three wins this year, it’s headed in the right direction.”
Woods will tee off in Thursday’s opening round in the company of South African Branden Grace.