Tiger Woods walks the second hole during the practice round of the Barclays golf tournament at Liberty National Golf Course. (John O’Boyle/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports)
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Tiger Woods has gone a fifth season without winning a major but still considers his five tour titles a “great year” and is looking to add more in the FedExCup series starting on Thursday with The Barclays.
Woods, who has long measured success by his hardware from golf’s major championships, sounded philosophical on Wednesday when asked to assess his 2013 season ahead of the opening round at Liberty National.
“You’re going to have years where you don’t win major championships and years that you do,” said Woods, whose stated pursuit of Jack Nicklaus and his record 18 majors has stalled since winning the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
But failure to end his majors drought did not diminish his achievements this year, Woods said.
“This year’s been a great year so far,” the 37-year-old American told reporters.
“I’ve won at two of my favorite venues (Torrey Pines and Bay Hill), plus winning two World Golf Championships and a Players (Championship) in there. It’s been pretty good,” he added with a smile.
The five tournament victories from 12 starts this year have put him firmly atop the world rankings and brought him to a total of 79, three away from the record 82 won by Sam Snead.
Woods said his PGA Tour wins column was something he was very proud of.
“It’s been an amazing, amazing run to get here,” he said. “The consistency is one of the things I’m most proud of, winning five or more tournaments, 10 years. That’s one of the stats that I look at as one of the ones I’m really proud of. This is one of those years.
“I’m second on the all-time list on both, whether it’s majors or all-time wins. That’s not bad at my age.”
Woods has twice won the FedExCup competition, in the inaugural 2007 series and again two years later, but his 2009 triumph began with a contentious start at The Barclays, which served as the coming-out party for the Liberty National venue.
The American was very critical about the layout, especially the heavily undulating contours of the greens.
Woods remarked to a player in his pro-am group the day before the tournament began that “maybe Tom (co-designer Kite) did this course before his eye operation.”
Kite shed his thick-lensed eyeglasses after having Lasik surgery in 1998, six years after first considering the challenge of turning the former landfill site into a world-class venue.
“The golf course is obviously very different than the last time we played it,” Woods, who still managed to tie for second in the 2009 event, said about the 74 changes made to the layout since then.
“They made some really nice improvements. Some of the landing areas have been changed. Some of the greens have been changed, and a couple bunkers have been repositioned, but they have made some really nice, positive improvements.”
Woods said his goal was to add to his wins total and play his way into the top five on the points list - which ensures that victory at the Tour Championship finale would clinch the FedExCup title and its $10 million bonus.
With all that winning, Woods was asked would the 2013 season be better with six titles, or none of those and one major.
“I think the major,” admitted Woods. who tied for fourth at the Masters, tied for 32nd at the U.S. Open, was tied for sixth at the British Open and finished tied for 40th at the PGA.