Friday 15 December 2017

I can rule the world again, says confident Tiger Woods

FORMER world number one Tiger Woods is confident he can once again dominate the sport in which he was almost untouchable for more than a decade.

The American won 14 majors in an 11-year-period from 1997 but has not added to that total since his last victory at the US Open in June 2008, when his injury problems began.

Since then he has also had to deal with lurid revelations about his private life, gone through a divorce and had a number of other fitness-related issues.

He has returned to the country where he registered his last tournament victory of any kind two years ago (at the JWB Masters in Melbourne) and tees off in the Australian Open in Sydney tomorrow fully believing he can return to the pinnacle of golf.

Asked whether he can dominate again Woods, 36 next month, replied: "Absolutely.

"I know that Vijay (Singh) was like that well into his 40s.

"I think he's won more tournaments than anybody in the history of our sport in their 40s - I'm not there yet, by the way."

Woods' restricted playing schedule for personal reasons as well as injuries has seen his world ranking slip to 58.

He has put that into perspective and is intent of climbing back up the standings next year.

"It's understandable. I hadn't played," he added in his pre-tournament press conference.

"I had a really good year two years ago in 2009 where I think I won six or seven tournaments around the world, so those points all came off this year and I didn't make any points back.

"Next year's going to be fun because basically I have nothing and I'm not really losing any points.

"So I'll have nothing but positive gains next year. By playing well, by winning golf tournaments I'll climb the world rankings."

Woods tees off tomorrow with Australian's Jason Day and Robert Allenby.

In the group immediately ahead of him will be another Australian Adam Scott, who starts as joint favourite with Woods.

Woods dismissed the bookies' thinking by saying: "I've never paid any attention to those types of odds.

"Everyone who is in the field has the same opportunity as I do to win the golf tournament."

Scott is relatively happy with his form despite failing to challenge for victory at last week's HSBC Champions event in China having begun the final round third.

"It is not looking too bad, actually. I played quite nicely last week in China except for the Sunday," said the world number eight, who finished 11th in Shanghai.

"Unfortunately it wasn't my best day but was the first week back after five weeks off and I think a nice warm-up for this week."

Scott's build-up has been overshadowed by the racism row caused by his caddie's comments on Woods.

Steve Williams, sacked by Tiger Woods this summer, landed himself in trouble when he told the audience at an awards dinner for caddies in Shanghai the aim of his celebration when Scott won a world championship event in August was "to shove it right up that black a*******".

Everyone concerned appears to have drawn a line under the issue, with Woods revealing he and Williams have shook hands after discussing the matter.

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