Tiger Woods has landed in Dubai after a harrowing experience at LAX in which he had to take a commercial flight from the USA to the UAE (heavy sarcasm not included). Woods, rocking shorts for his practice rounds I might add, is ready to play the 2017 Dubai Desert Classic. He spoke on Wednesday ahead of his tee time with Masters champion Danny Willett and Matthew Fitzpatrick about how Roger Federer inspired him and what his goals are in 2017.
Federer, of course, just won the Australian Open over Rafael Nadal for his first Grand Slam victory since 2012. It was the 35-year-old's 18th overall, which tied him with Jack Nicklaus in the tennis and golf realm. The symmetry is similar to Woods' recent return. This was Federer's first tournament back from injury in six months.
"What Rog has done is he's been dominant for so long, and then to, not only that, to compete against Djokovic, to compete against Rafa; and now Andy is playing well," said Woods. "He's had, you know, a litany of guys who have won slams. And no one wins slams at his age. And for him to come back, after having to take that much time off, and for him to get the timing; that's the hardest part.
"He rehabbed properly and you can tell how fast he's moving. He's shortened up points, changed his strategy around a little bit. I mean, as you get older, you change your game and you do things slightly differently, and he did that."
Sounds like somebody else I know trying to come back from a long layoff. Woods, who missed the cut at last week's Farmers Insurance Open, has maintained that his only goal in everything he does is to win golf tournaments.
"Goal is to win it," Woods said of being in Dubai where he has won twice. "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. Whether I'm injured, coming off an injury or I'm playing well, or I'm playing poorly, if I'm in the event, it's to win the event.
"I've had lean years there where I didn't win. There have been, I think I have, what, ten years where I won five or more tournaments, but there have also been years where I didn't win [any]thing, and I struggled. I was changing my game and I did not play well. And so you know, Jason Day said something pretty funny [last week when both missed the cut at Torrey Pines].
"We were walking in the scoring tent on Friday, and he says, 'You know, it doesn't really matter when you win your four tournaments, whether it's the beginning of the year or the end of the year. I know we all missed the cuts, but you win four at the end of the year, people think you've had a hell of a year.'"
Whether Woods can still do that remains to be seen. He tees off tonight at 11:15 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.