NORTON, Mass. — A year that began with plenty of unknowns has seen Tiger Woods emerge from nowhere to contend in two majors and book a return trip to the latter stages of the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time since 2013.
While Woods has been unable to add to his 79 PGA Tour titles, he came very close to his 15th major championship with a runner-up finish at the PGA Championship earlier this month.
Even though he is far from the dominating force he once was, Woods rates his 2018 season as one of his best.
“This has been one of my best years. Considering I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Woods said. “I just didn’t have a clue. And the fact that I’ve been able to make it this far is very exciting. I have a bright future ahead of me, and at this point last year that wasn’t the case, I didn’t know. But now I know that I have a bright future.”
Woods hopes that bright future includes more victories, which he believes will come if he continues to contend.
“For me it’s just to keep getting there in the mix, keep getting there on the back nine with a chance to win,” Woods said. “I responded well at Valspar. I made a mistake there at Bay Hill and The Players, even at The Open Championship. But learn from those and really did well at the PGA. So it’s just a matter of giving myself enough opportunities. I’m not going to win them all. In order to win them you’ve got to be there. And I’ve been there enough this year and obviously want more of it.”
Woods’ better than expected comeback has meant there have been plenty of adjustments on the fly, including the addition of two events to his schedule at the Valspar Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Woods currently sits 25th in the FedEx Cup standings which has created a bit of a scheduling issue, as the 42-year old is looking at playing as many as six events in eight weeks should he qualify for the Tour Championship, followed by the Ryder Cup in Paris.
It’s a good problem to have, and means Woods will take advantage of the week off built in for the players during the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
“I’m guaranteed a week off, either case. It’s taking advantage of that week,” Woods said. “And I know that my golf is not going to be much, if anything, post Ryder Cup. And not just myself, but for a lot of guys. We’re just pushing it to that point and then shutting it down. And just trying to get to that point so that when I shut it down I’ll be able to shut it down.”
Woods is hoping a return to TPC Boston will help him end a winless drought that now stretches more than five years. Woods has had plenty of success in Norton, with a win, two runner-up finishes, and five top-10s on his resume.
One of those runner-up finishes featured a Labor Day battle with Phil Mickelson in 2007 and leaves Woods with plenty of positive memories.
“[This event] has a lot of fond memories. That battle with Phil was a lot of fun, even though I didn’t come out on the good side of it,” Woods said. “We had some battles there through that front nine and back nine. We both made birdie at 16. That was kind of the turning point because I was still trailing at the time. I needed a make-miss there to get me some momentum coming down the last two.”