“I’ve always said winning one major championship turns a good year into a great year,” he said ahead of the CIMB Classic, his first event in Malaysia in 13 years. “It’s very similar to tennis. Guys can have seven, eight, nine-win seasons, but, if they don’t win a Slam, it’s not a great year.
“Back in 1999, I had a really good run, won a bunch of tournaments, but didn’t win a major championship until the last one, the PGA. That, all of a sudden, changed the whole year.”
Woods is back at the Mines Resort and Golf Club in Malaysia for the first time since he won the individual and team titles at the 1999 World Cup. That was one of the “great years” before his life and career spiralled out of control in 2009 because of a string of infidelities that led to the breakdown of his marriage.
His three wins on the USPGA Tour this season have restored some after his long title drought – 27 starts in official tournaments. But there’s not a lot riding on the CIMB Classic apart from the $6.1 million prize money ($1.3 million for the winner) and the chance to keep refining his game. The 48-man, no-cut tournament is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, but doesn’t count for world ranking points.
Asked about the doping scandal involving Lance Armstrong, Woods said golf couldn’t be compared with cycling.
“This is a sport where we turn ourselves in on mistakes,” he said. “A ball moves in the trees, the guys call penalties on themselves. I think that’s one of the neat things about our game and I think, with the [anti-doping] testing, it has only enhanced that respectability.”