Year 2014 crucial for Tiger
Kapalua, United States (AFP) — A week that began Monday with the 38th birthday of world number one Tiger Woods will see the US PGA Tour’s first 2014 event tee off without him Friday in Hawaii.
But make no mistake, the 14-time major champion and his quest to rewrite the sport’s record book will be a major theme in golf in 2014 long after the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua is over.
Since he was a child, Woods has dreamed of breaking the all-time record of 18 career major titles won by Jack Nicklaus. But Woods has not won a major since the 2008 US Open.
Woods overcame injuries and the emotional aftermath of his infamous sex scandal to win five titles last year, giving him 79 career US PGA Tour triumphs, three shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record.
‘’I’m really looking forward to next year,’’ Woods said. ‘’I played well at the end of this year, so it’s nice to have some momentum heading into 2014. I think my body of work overall for the whole year was pretty good.’’
Woods has reason for optimism in the majors in 2014 beyond having completed swing changes that put less stress on his surgically repaired knees.
Three of the courses being used for major events in 2014 — Augusta National for the Masters, Valhalla for the PGA Championship and Royal Liverpool for the British Open — are courses where Woods has won major titles previously in his career.
Woods won the Masters in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005 and captured the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla and the 2006 British Open at Royal Liverpool.
And the other major, the US Open, is being played at Pinehurst, where Woods finished second in 2005 and shared third in 1999.
‘’I’m really excited about the major championships next year,’’ Woods said. ‘’But I still need to practice, work, grind and prepare, and have my game come together those four times a year, and I hope that will happen.’’