Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 22 November 2014

Tiger Woods is keen to roar back into Ryder contention

Aiming high: Tiger Woods wants to define his year this fortnight
Aiming high: Tiger Woods wants to define his year this fortnight

Former world number one Tiger Woods was in typically bullish mood as he looked ahead to the two events which will define his season. Woods has played just two tournaments since undergoing back surgery in March, missing the cut in the Quicken Loans National and finishing 69th in the Open Championship.

The 14-time major winner was asked at Royal Liverpool what an acceptable finishing position would be and replied "first," but after a promising opening 69 he faded to his worst 72-hole finish in a major as a professional.

But that did not stop the 38-year-old from having the same goals in this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club and next week's US PGA Championship at Valhalla, two venues where he has enjoyed previous success.

He needs successful results in the next fortnight simply to make the FedEx Cup play-offs and give himself four extra tournaments to boost his case for one of US captain Tom Watson's three Ryder Cup wild cards

"I would like to win these next two weeks and not have to worry about anything and that's the plan. That's the mindset and the focus and we will see how it feels after these weeks," Woods said.

"I am so far out of it right now that I need to play well and get myself into the play-offs and hopefully play all four weeks. Unfortunately I have been in this position before (after injury in 2011) and did not make it. Hopefully this go around will be a little better."

Woods is 215th in the FedEx Cup standings and needs to climb into the top 125. Finishing third this week and next would probably do the trick. Much worse than that and he would miss out.

At least Woods could not be in a better place, his eight victories in Akron allowing him to again match Sam Snead's PGA Tour record for wins in an event. Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times. Woods also won at Bay Hill for the eighth time in 2013.

"To try to win the ninth there is no secret formula, just go and play well," added Woods, who said he had been practicing every day since returning from the Open.

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