Another week without a win for Tiger Woods, but the fallen star of world golf insists he is still on the right track and will redouble his efforts ahead of The Masters.
The 35-year-old American failed to find the vital spark he has been looking for on the final day of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, a tournament he won handsomely in 2006 and 2008.
Starting the day just one stroke off the lead and with realistic hopes of a first tournament win in 15 months, bogeys at two and three soon took the wind out of his sails.
Woods clawed his way back up the leaderboard with birdies at the sixth and the 11th, but with the gusting wind buffeting his remodelled swing, bogeys at the 12th and 14th effectively ended his challenge.
He came in with a three-over 75 and a tie for 20th place.
At least that was an improvement on his tie for 44th place at Torrey Pines, California two weeks ago when he opened up his season and Woods doggedly remained upbeat.
“There were quite a few positives this week. Also a couple of glaring examples of what I need to work on, which is good. I’ll go to work next week,” he said.
“It’s just like anything, all of my old feels are out of the window when the wind blows, so that’s the thing when you are making a change.
“I went through this with Butch (Harmon) and I went through this with Hank (Haney).
“It’s fine when the wind is not blowing, but when I have to hit shots and the wind blows, the change of feels and the new swing patterns, they get exposed.”
Woods undertook to drastically remodel his swing under the watchful eye of Canadian coach Sean Foley last year in the middle of the personal turmoil that beset his marriage and career.
It also followed the extensive knee surgery he underwent in 2008 following his dramatic US Open win at Torrey Pines which kept him sidelined for eight months.
Woods did briefly show glimpses of his old form in Dubai, notably with his eagle finish to the first round and his bogey-free 66 on Friday.
But when he needed to find another gear at the weekend to break free from a bunched leaderboard, the game just was not there.
Still, he said that things were improving.
“It was a step in the right direction, there’s no doubt,” he said.
“I improved a lot considering where I was at Torrey Pines a couple of weeks ago. That’s a step in the right direction.
“It’s progressing. It’s progressing.”
Woods heads back to the United States to continue his buildup to the Masters in early April and is expected to play next in the WCG Matchplay in Arizona at the end of this month.
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