THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Tiger Woods barely qualified for his own tournament at the Chevron World Challenge, an indication that the past two years have been the worst stretch of his career.
His past two weeks of competition allow for a much better outlook.
A trip Down Under gave Woods plenty of indicators that his game might finally be on the rise. He had the 36-hole lead at the Australian Open and finished third, his best result of the year. Then came the Presidents Cup, where he played solidly for five matches at Royal Melbourne and was at his best in the final round of singles.
It wasn’t the results, or even the scores, that pleased him. It was his play in blustery conditions – testing conditions in Sydney at The Lakes, even more demanding in Melbourne.
“Anybody who makes swing changes … you get exposed in the wind,” Woods said Wednesday. “I felt very comfortable in that wind, which was great.”
He looked back to the early part of this year when he shot 66 in the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic and was right in the thick of the tournament. The wind picked up, and Woods had a 75-72 weekend to tie for 20th.
“Playing in Oz for two weeks, it was fantastic,” he said. “I hit all shapes, all trajectories, and if you look at the rounds, I hit most of my shots pin-high. That’s an indication if the wind’s blowing that hard, that I’m really controlling my trajectory well.”
Also, Woods said he will play what he calls a “new event” on the PGA Tour this year. He played in the Frys.com Open last season for the first time.
“What (PGA Tour Commissioner) Tim (Finchem) wanted us to do is play different events each year, and I did that this year,” Woods said. “I see no reason why I’m not going to do that next year.
Among the possibilities is the Honda Classic, an event Woods has never played in.
It is held in Palm Beach Gardens, not far from Woods’ new mansion in Jupiter.