Woods happy with progress

Once upon a time Tiger Woods would have been unhappy with a tie for fourth in the Masters, but not anymore.

Once upon a time Tiger Woods would have been unhappy with a tie for fourth in the Masters, but not anymore.

Coming off a long winless run that stretches back to 2009, the former world number one had to be pleased with his performance at Augusta National last week. While it didn’t bring him a 15th major title, it did show the golfing world that the old Tiger is still in there somewhere.

‘I hit the ball really well on the weekend and made some shots – those are shots I know I can hit. That was fun and exciting,’ Woods said at the Mission Hills Dongguan clubhouse near Shenzhen in China, where he is kicking off an Asian promotional tour. ‘It’s really starting to feel pretty good. This week was a pretty good week.’

As he charged to a front-nine 31 during Sunday’s final round to claim a share of the lead, the whole world saw signs of the Woods of old, but he came up short on the back nine, unable to put together the dream round that might have proved enough.

‘I played well and unfortunately just came up a little short on the back nine. But it was a fun front nine on Sunday. That was fun. Had a blast,” Woods said. “It was fun being in the mix. Unfortunately didn’t get it done.’

An older Woods reflected on where he is with his game now.

‘When I was 25, I was on tour and having a pretty good run out there at the time, won a few tournaments right about that age. And at 35, I haven’t won a thing.’

Woods realises his putter let him down on Sunday, and he told fans during an afternoon clinic in China that he will work on fine-tuning his short game.

Whatever his current fortunes, it was clear that Woods is still a huge star in China, where hundreds of fans came out to watch his four-hole demonstration and listen to his pre-shot strategies courtesy of a wireless microphone he was wearing.

Woods also remarked on the growth of golf in China, and said it was only a matter of time before a Chinese golfer joined the world’s best at the top of the rankings.

‘It’s been really neat as a player who has come here for a number of years to see the development of the fans and their knowledge of the game and their enthusiasm for the sport,’ he said. ‘These fans are certainly much more knowledgeable now.’