People insist on continuing to ask the question if Tiger Woods is back. It’s getting a bit old at this point, and whether he’s the Tiger of old or not, he’s winning again and it’s made golf just that much more exciting. Woods says he’s been focused on being better than he was, “and that’s what I’m going to do.” Tiger Woods joined ESPN Radio with Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo to discuss believing he’s still got a lot of time left for his golf career, hoping to be better than he has ever been before, his level of happiness, the importance of being healthy, beating Steve Stricker by two strokes after Stricker gave him a putting tip heading into this past weekend and knowing the spot that Rory McIlroy is in right now.
Are the Lakers a playoff team?
“Absolutely. You never know once you get in the playoffs, in a series. You never know.”
As the years go by, how much more aware are you of the dwindling number of chances you have to win major championships?
“For me, it’s sort of misleading, because guys like Norman at 55 or Tom Watson at age 59, almost won British Opens. Obviously Jack winning at age 46, The Masters, it can be done. You just have to have the right golf course and the right kind of conditions. So, my career is out there for a very long time. … I’m very proud of what I’ve done so far, but also I have a lot to do in the future.”
What’s it like to have so many people thinking you can’t return to form, but you feel deep down that you can?
“It’s other people’s opinions, and they’re entitled to them. But deep down, I feel like I can become better, and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to become better than what I was, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Given the injuries and everything, how happy are you now compared to a couple years ago?
“Everything’s much more in balance. That’s the key to life is having things in the right balance. Sometimes you get out of equilibrium a little bit, but you just bring it back to balance, and that’s basically where I’m at now.”
Between the comfort level with your swing change of you getting your legs healthy again, which was more important?
“Oh, for sure, staying healthy. It’s not even close. It probably didn’t happen until mid-summer. My legs really started feeling pretty good right around Congressional, when I was playing there. From then on, my legs have been pretty sound. I’ve been able to do, not my rehab, but I’m able to train now, finally, and I’m making some nice gains.”
Steve Stricker gave you a putting tip and you beat him by two strokes this weekend. If the roles were reversed, would you do the same?
“Oh, we have. We’ve played together a lot in the playoffs last year and we spent hours and hours on the putting green, talking about putting. He wasn’t putting well at the end of last year and we worked on it, it seemed like just about every day. That’s nothing new between Strick and I. We’ve been doing this for years.”
Do you see any similarities between how you started your career and how Rory McIlroy has started his? Or perhaps you just feel like you’re one of the only people on the planet who knows what he is going through?
“Yeah, exactly, 100 percent. I just say, ‘Hey, stay patient with it. Keep focused on your goals, and work hard to achieve what you want to achieve. I know this is now the 24-hour news cycle is a little bit different. It can be more vicious at times.’”