Last chance saloon for Tiger

2010-11-15 07:57

Melbourne - Tiger Woods has just next month's Chevron World Challenge left to end his tormented year of win-less tournaments, after finishing fourth in the Australian Masters in Melbourne.

The former world number one, the winner of 14 majors among 95 tournament victories, is still without a victory going into his last event of the year, but there were encouraging signs at the Australian Masters on Sunday.

Woods thrilled his fans when he peeled off two eagles and two birdies in his closing six holes to finish three shots behind the tournament winner Stuart Appleby of Australia.

Woods had rounds of 69-72-71-65 to finish at seven-under 277.

The former world number one struggled with his game all week and was 10 shots off the lead heading into Sunday's final 18 holes, only to recapture some of his trademark golf in the back nine holes.

After turning at level par, Woods reeled off eagles at the 15th and 18th holes along with birdies at the 13th and 17th.

Woods is looking to the Chevron tournament at Thousand Oaks, California, early next month to finally break his frustrating run.

"I have two weeks off and then play the Chevron so I am pretty excited about it," Woods said before leaving Melbourne for home with his three million dollar appearance fee.

"Some of the things I am working on are starting to gel but unfortunately not for the entire round -- they are sporadic.

"So I'll do some more work when I get back home with Sean."

Woods is restructuring his game with his fourth swing change with golfing instructor Sean Foley after splitting with his longtime swing guru Hank Haney.

"I can do this in streaks, unfortunately I haven't done it for an entire round yet," he said.

"That's one of the things when you're making changes in the game, it takes time.

"I'm pleased with some of the progress I've made because the streaks are now lasting longer, but I still need to do it for an entire round. I still need to do it for 72 holes.

"I finally got it going at the end but it was too little too late."

The putter let Woods down in the changeable weather at the Masters, and he finished with a total of 122 putts over the four rounds, for an average of around 30 a round, well off his best.

"It would have been nice if I got off to that start but I didn't do it ... I didn't play good enough, I missed too many putts," he said.

It has been a tumultuous year for Woods, 34, whose last win came at the Australian Masters here in November 2009 before a spectacular fall from grace in the wake of a sex scandal that engulfed his personal and professional life.

Apart from the breakup of his marriage, the upheaval also cost Woods his world number one ranking - which went to Englishman Lee Westwood this month - after a 281-week run at the top.

"I haven't won anything this year so it's understandable why I'm not number one anymore," he said.

"I have to win golf tournaments to get there. That's what has happened in the past and that's what I need to do in the future if I'm to get there again."