BETHESDA, Md. – Tiger Woods saw some of himself in how LeBron James matured as a player in the last 12 months to lead the Miami Heat to their second NBA championship.
'He had an unbelievable playoffs,' Woods said Tuesday. 'He showed every single facet of his game. Things he needed to work on versus last year showed up and (not just) show up, but they were dominant.'
Woods observed the same adaptation in Michael Jordan as he developed into a great champion.
'He couldn't jump over everybody with the Pistons and eventually learned a different shot, and he mastered going off his right hand, left shoulder,' he said.
The 36-year-old is adapting with Sean Foley, gaining faith in a swing he built to protect his oft-injured knee and thrive on a changed PGA Tour.
'I didn't want to play the way I did because it hurt, and it hurt a lot. Was I good at it? Yeah, I was good at it, but I couldn't go down that road, and there's no way I could have had longevity in the game if I would have done that,' he said.
'I finally have a swing that it doesn't hurt, and I am still generating power, but it doesn't hurt anymore.'
Woods admitted his game is not without holes, however. As with past swing changes, his short game is suffering while he solidifies the full swing. Woods won just once on the PGA Tour in 1998 before winning his second major at the 1999 PGA Championship as part of an eight-win season. Four years later, Woods again struggled in 2003-04 before capturing two majors in 2005.
In this third iteration of the process, Woods sees light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
'Eventually I get to a point where the full game becomes very natural feeling and I can repeat it day after day,' he said, 'and I can dedicate most of my time to my short game again.'