Bob Harig, ESPN | Published August 30, 2018

Tiger Woods on Thursday called 2018 one of the best years of his professional golf career, which has spanned more than 20 years.

The 14-time major champion has not added to his total of 79 PGA Tour victories this year, but considering all the doubts about his ability to come back from a fourth back surgery — including his own — it had him looking at the season in a far different way than he would have in the past.

“This has been one of my best years, considering that I didn’t know what I was going to do; I just didn’t have a clue,” Woods said at TPC Boston, where the Dell Technologies Championship begins Friday. “The fact that I’ve been able to make it this far is very exciting to me. I have a bright future ahead of me because at this point last year, that wasn’t the case, didn’t know.”

Woods, 42, is in the midst of a three-tournament run of FedEx Cup playoff events. He is coming off a tie for 40th at The Northern Trust, has this week’s Dell Technologies and is guaranteed a spot in next week’s BMW Championship outside Philadelphia.

Although Woods dropped five spots in the FedEx Cup standings to 25th, he is one decent tournament in the next two weeks away from qualifying for his first Tour Championship since 2013. The top 30 players after the BMW make it to East Lake in Atlanta for the season-ending tournament. Woods won FedEx Cup titles in 2007 and 2009.

After a poor putting week at Ridgewood Country Club, Woods said he spent some time on that aspect of his game this week, although he did little else. The idea at this point is to conserve energy for his longest stretch of golf in more than five years.

“The hardest part is I didn’t have any inkling of what this year might be,” Woods said. “Normally if I have a good offseason or feel healthy, I can reasonably expect what might happen the following year. This year was a complete unknown. I didn’t know if I was going to play. I didn’t know how many events I was going to play, what swing I was going to use. And a lot of adjustments on the fly.”

Although it’s been five years since Woods played in this tournament, he has had good success at TPC Boston going back to his first appearance in 2003. In nine appearances, Woods was outside the top 11 just twice, with a victory, two second-place finishes and a third.

He begins play Friday at 8:51 a.m. off the 10th tee with Marc Leishman and Chez Reavie.

This will be Woods’ 16th tournament of the year, and he has had five top-10 finishes, including two runner-ups.

“The thing for me is to just to keep getting there in the mix, keep getting there on the back nine with a chance to win,” Woods said. “I responded well at Valspar [where he tied for second], I made a mistake there at Bay Hill [T-5] and at the Players [T11], even at the Open Championship [T6]. But I learned from those and really did well at the PGA [second].

“So it’s just a matter of giving myself enough opportunities. I’m not going to win them all. In order to win them, you’ve got to be there. And I’ve been there enough this year and obviously want more of it.”

 

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