New York, Dec 23 (IANS) American golf icon Tiger Woods says despite a physically draining year he is still dreaming of adding to his haul of 14 Major titles.
Former World No.1 Woods struggled throughout the season as he found the return from a severe back injury tough. The 39-year-old showed signs of improvement as he finished tied 17th in the year’s first Major at the Augusta Masters. But later he missed the cuts at the rest of the three Majors — for the first time in his career he witnessed no weekend action in consecutive Majors.
Recently he finished tied 10th and tied 18th at the Wyndham Championship and Quicken Loans National respectively but the old spark was missing.
Woods’ most recent Major triumph came at the 2008 US Open, while his last victory on the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour came 28 months ago.
“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 wrote in his website on Tuesday.
Woods, who spent 683 weeks as world No.1 and is now ranked No.414, is eager that 2015 is over and 2016 comes with new hopes.
“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. I haven’t done that in what seems like a long time. I’ve had it in spurts the last few years and have done some pretty good things, but I’d like to have sustained health,” Woods said.
He still has ambitions of qualifying for next year’s Ryder Cup that is contested between the United States and Europe.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to play my way onto the Ryder Cup Team. Either way, I’m excited about being named a vice-captain. It will be new, fun and special,” he said.
Reflecting on 2015, Woods said: “As far as 2015, it was a tough year physically and took a toll on my body. I had to battle through a swing pattern change and get that organised, because it was awful at the beginning of the year. I didn’t play for the longest time because I was stuck. To come back on the hardest venue of any course on the short game at Augusta National and tie for 17th, was pretty special to get myself back into it.
“The frustrating part was not being able to build on it throughout the year. To finally have it switch and turn in the last event I played at the Wyndham Championship, and then lo and behold, I can’t physically do it anymore. I’ve had two back surgeries since then, so it’s been a roller-coaster ride the entire year, from being down to some pretty darn good highs,” Woods, who has 79 triumphs on the PGA Tour, added.
On December 30, he will turn 40 and says he is ready to cross the “internal struggle”.
“My friends keep asking me how it feels to be turning 40 at the end of the month and my response is, ‘It depends when you ask me’. Mentally, people who know me know I’m like a five-year-old. Physically, sometimes I feel old and sometimes I feel like a teenager. I don’t like the polar opposites of the two. I’d like to be somewhere in the middle where I feel 40.
“What I love and appreciate the most about playing golf is the internal struggle. The fact that the ball is not moving; it’s just looking at you and laughing at you. You have to make it move 400 yards in let’s say four shots, and that to me is without a doubt one of the toughest mental struggles there is in sports. There are more physically demanding sports, obviously, but the mental task of golf is so hard. It is basically a physical chess match.”