DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Tiger Woods used his old refrain Wednesday, just as he has hundreds of times over the last two decades. He’s here at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic to win, he wouldn’t be here if he didn’t think he could.
But after a missed cut last week at the Farmers Insurance Open and two more PGA Tour events coming in the next three weeks, this is the place where Woods needs to make the cut. He needs to show progress. He knows that.
“Over the course of my career, I have been less successful at winning golf tournaments than winning tournaments, but the goal is to win, and that doesn’t change,” Woods said Wednesday.
But what if it doesn’t happen? What if doesn’t make cuts? What if he does but doesn’t finish anywhere near the top 10, or the top 20? Then what? Will he be satisfied?
“For me, it’s about preparation,” he said. “If I can’t prepare to win a golf tournament, I feel ill-prepared to hit the shots and handle the shots down the stretch, and I’m not able to pull them off at home, there’s no reason why I should expect to be able to pull them off out here.
“I would much rather practice than play at home because I like to have all those shots. So when I come out here it’s not a surprise.”
Woods recalled a conversation he had with Jason Day last week at Torrey Pines. Day and Woods were both on their way to missing the cut and Day essentially told Woods that the result wouldn’t matter at the end of the year if a victory comes somewhere down the road. You can play like a hack to start the year, but if wins come later everyone will think the entire year was a success, was Woods’ point.
“I just like to put myself in contention as many times as I possibly can to get those Ws,” he said. “This is a good week to start off doing that.”