Tiger Woods hopes he can achieve “something big” in the next phase of his playing career as he targets tournament success in the New Year.
A promising return to action at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas four weeks ago indicated the 14-time major winner may become a title contender again in the autumn of his career.
Woods, who turns 42 on Saturday, had started just three events since August 2015 before launching his latest comeback after spinal fusion surgery.
Following four back operations in the space of three years, Woods is guarded about how his body will hold up to week-to-week golf on the PGA Tour.
But he appears to have grounds for optimism as he looks ahead to 2018, and back on the past 12 months.
“It’s been a year filled with ups and downs, but I am very optimistic about 2018 and looking forward to great things on and off the golf course,” he wrote on his personal website.
“I was very encouraged by my performance at the Hero World Challenge, and hope it was the start of something big. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect after being away from competitive golf for 10 months and came away excited about my health and my game.”
Woods briefly led the tournament midway through the second round before a 75 the next day ended his trophy challenge.
There was enough about his performance to suggest the old magic remains in his game, and Woods added: “I can’t express in words how great it felt to be back in the arena and how much I missed it.”
He explained it was necessary to take a week off golf and focus on strength work after that tournament, but a recent practice round with US PGA champion Justin Thomas proved enjoyable, although no substitute for competing.
That is where Woods wants to focus his energy, having been for so much of his career the man to beat wherever he shows up.