Tiger: ’14 major venues ‘set up well for me’
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — With his final tournament of 2013 set to begin Thursday, Tiger Woods has his sights set on the 2014 major championships.
Harig: Bridging The Gap
Playing in Tiger’s tournament this week means different things to all 18 golfers in the field, writes Bob Harig. Story
Stuck on 14 majors since his 2008 U.S. Open victory, the topic is never far from the discussion with Woods, who has 79 PGA Tour victories and turns 38 on Dec. 30.
“I’ve won at every one except (U.S. Open venue) Pinehurst,” Woods said of the four host courses for the 2014 major championships. “And I’m trending in the right way. I’ve finished third, second … you get the picture, right? OK. So I’m looking forward to the major championships. They have set up well for me over the years, and I look forward to it.”
Woods has won four times at Augusta National, but will be going on nine years since his last victory at the Masters when the tournament is played in April. He was in contention at both the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens at Pinehurst. He tied for third, two strokes behind winner Payne Stewart in 1999, and was second, two shots behind winner Michael Campbell in 2005.
Woods won the last Open Championship played at Royal Liverpool in 2006, famously hitting just one driver off the tee throughout the tournament on his way to capturing his third Claret Jug. And his 2000 victory at Valhalla, where the PGA Championship returns, gave him three straight major championships that year.[+] Enlarge
Woods the No. 1-ranked player in the world, headlines the field at this week’s Northwestern Mutual Challenge at Sherwood Country Club, the annual fundraiser for his foundation that next year will move to Florida. All 18 players in the field are ranked among the top 30 in the world. Woods has won the event five times and looks to end the year on a strong note after winning five times on the PGA Tour, his last victory coming in August at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
“My goals are still the same — keep improving,” he said. “I feel like I’ve improved this year more than I did over the previous year. Won five times. That’s a pretty good number; no one [else] did that this year, so I’m very pleased at the year overall.
“I certainly wish I could have played a little better in major championships. I was there at the Masters and the British certainly with a chance, but just didn’t get it done. The other two I didn’t played well.”
Woods has yet to play an official event in the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, and isn’t expected to play again until the Farmers Insurance Open (Jan. 23-26) followed by the Dubai Desert Classic (Jan. 30-Feb. 2) on the European Tour. After that, Woods’ schedule is unclear. The Winter Olympics begin Feb. 7 in Sochi, Russia, but Woods said Wednesday he was not sure if he would accompany his girlfriend, Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn.
“I think that’s just day to day,” he said. “We just don’t know how her leg is going to be. We’ll just take it day to day, race to race.”
Vonn tore two ligaments in her knee and broke a bone in her lower leg during a high-speed crash in February and had a setback two weeks ago when she partially tore the ACL in the knee. But she made a training run Wednesday in Canada and declared the knee “stable.”
Should he attend the Olympics, Woods would miss PGA Tour events he has not played of late, including the ATT Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Northern Trust Open at Riviera.
Golf Writer, ESPN.com