Tiger pleased to leave 2010 behind

Saturday, 27 November 2010 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Tiger Woods, encouraged by his recent golf efforts, said on Tuesday he was pleased to be done with a year of scandal and losses that was “a lot more difficult than people could possibly imagine.”

Woods posted the first blog entry on his website since September and only his second in seven months, continuing a charm offensive that has seen him give an ESPN interview, write for Newsweek magazine and begin sending Twitter notes.

“It’s nice to be home for the holidays after two weeks on the road,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a W, but I played well in stretches and feel encouraged about my game.”

The posting came two days before the US Thanksgiving holiday and four days before the one-year anniversary of a car crash that sent Woods to the hospital and touched off revelations of a sex scandal with multiple mistresses that led to an expensive divorce from Elin Nordegren.

“Obviously, this has been a very difficult year for me and my family, on and off the golf course,” Woods wrote. “I got through the year and I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago and my life has balance.

“It was a lot more difficult than people could possibly imagine.”

Little was left to the imagination in the scandal, where autotapes of Woods and emails from him were put on public display, leading to a five-month hiatus from golf that ended with his share of fourth at last April’s Masters.

Woods has won 14 major titles and says the quest to break the all-time record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus remains important to him.

“As for my golf game going forward, the drive is still the same: to win golf tournaments,” Woods said.

In addition to being deserted by sponsors and seeing his marriage end, Woods also was dethroned as the world No.1 golfer after a winless 2010 season, with England’s Lee Westwood taking the top spot to end his five-year reign.

“I had a pretty good run at No.1 - 281 consecutive weeks - but you only stay there if you win,” Woods said.

“It’s good to see the next generation of players stepping up, because it’s great for the game. My generation was Ernie Els, Phil (Mickelson), Retief Goosen and Vijay Singh. Those are the guys I went head-to-head with.

“But regardless of age, my goal is to beat whoever is in the field.”

Woods, who turns 35 next month, will play next week in his foundation’s charity tournament, the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, California.

Woods spoke about playing a made-for-television event in Japan against Ryo Ishikawa, calling the Japanese teen “just a great kid” and noting that “when I was his age (19) I was still playing college golf.”

After recounting events in China, Thailand and Australia, Woods spoke positively about his final-round 65 in Melbourne and his swing work with Canadian coach Sean Foley.

“I can’t wait until I can do that for an entire tournament,” Woods said. “It just takes time to build. You just have to go piece by piece. Before, I couldn’t even do it on the driving range and now I can.

“After working with Sean Foley, I can do it on the golf course sporadically, then it becomes more consistent. Eventually, it becomes a full 18 holes and beyond that, a full tournament.”