New York - With his 40th birthday just one
week away, Tiger Woods looks optimistically forward to playing golf pain-free
next year while he reflects on a 2015 campaign blighted by injuries, poor form
and a plummeting world ranking.
The greatest player of his generation and
arguably of all time, Woods has not won a tournament anywhere since the 2013
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and his title drought in the major championships
dates back to the 2008 US Open.
Woods, the world No 1 for a record total of
683 weeks who is now stunningly ranked 414th, said earlier this month that he
was in the dark about the future of his playing career, asking himself:
"Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?"
Yet the winner of 79 career PGA Tour events
now says he firmly believes he will still be contending, and emerging
triumphant, in the majors over the next five to 10 years while "still
playing golf at the highest level".
In a blog posted on the PGA Tour's website,
Woods wrote: "The thing I'm looking forward to the most about 2016 is
getting back out there again. I've missed it, and I would like to do it
"I haven't done that in what seems
like a long time. I've had it in spurts the last few years and have done some
pretty good things, but I'd like to have sustained health."
Woods, who has slipped in recent years due
to injuries and mastering of a new swing, thought he was back to form after
tying for 10th at the Wyndham Championship in August, following a dismal season
in which he missed three cuts in the majors.
But three weeks later he had a second micro
discectomy surgery to alleviate pressure on a disc in his lower back, before
needing another procedure on October 28 on the same area due to discomfort.
"As far as 2015, it was a tough year
physically and took a toll on my body," said Woods, whose career tally of
14 major victories is surpassed only by Jack Nicklaus (18).
"I had to battle through a swing
pattern change and get that organised, because it was awful at the beginning of
the year ... the frustrating part was not being able to build on it throughout
"To finally have it switch and turn in
the last event I played at the Wyndham Championship, and then lo and behold, I
can't physically do it any more ... so it's been a roller-coaster ride the
This week, though, he appeared to be much
more confident about his prospects.
"Where do I see myself in the next
five to 10 years? I am still playing golf at the highest level and winning
tournaments and major championships," Woods said.
As for the short-term, he has set his
sights on watching his beloved Stanford University football team and also the
latest blockbuster to emerge from Hollywood.
"I am really looking forward to
watching Stanford play Iowa in the Rose Bowl on January 1 on TV," Woods
said. I've followed the team every game. If I can't watch it live, every game
is DVR'd and I've seen every play.
"I want to go see the new 'Star Wars:
The Force Awakens.' I was a total geek growing up and had 'Star Wars' wallpaper
in my room. My kids love it, too."