Woods seems optimistic

New York, December 24

With his 40th birthday just one week away, Tiger Woods looks optimistically forward to playing golf pain-free next year while he reflects on a 2015 campaign blighted by injuries, poor form and a plummeting world ranking.

The greatest player of his generation and arguably of all time, Woods has not won a tournament anywhere since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and his title drought in the major championships dates back to 2008 US Open.

Woods, the world No 1 for a record total of 683 weeks who is now stunningly ranked 414th, said earlier this month that he was in the dark about the future of his playing career, asking himself: “Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?” Yet the winner of 79 career PGA Tour events now says he firmly believes he will still be contending, and emerging triumphant, in the majors over the next five to 10 years while “still playing golf at the highest level”.

In a blog, Woods wrote: “The thing I’m looking forward to the most about 2016 is getting back out there again. I’ve missed it, and I would like to do it pain-free.”

Woods, who has slipped in recent years due to injuries and mastering of a new swing, thought he was back to form after tying for 10th at the Wyndham Championship in August, following a dismal season in which he missed three cuts in the majors. But three weeks later he had a second microdiscectomy surgery to alleviate pressure on a disc in his lower back, before needing another procedure on October 28 on the same area due to discomfort.

“As far as 2015, it was a tough year physically and took a toll on my body,” said Woods, whose career tally of 14 major victories is surpassed only by Jack Nicklaus (18). He appeared to be much more confident about his prospects.

“Where do I see myself in the next five to 10 years? I am still playing golf at the highest level and winning tournaments and major championships,” Woods said.