With only three events left on his calendar for 2012, Tiger Woods took some time to reflect on his year prior to playing in Malaysia.
In the midst of what seems like his tenth major swing overhaul of his career, Tiger Woods managed to win three times on the PGA Tour in 2012. No majors are included in that win total, however, which lead Woods to call his season "good, but not great."
When Woods won the AT&T National tournament in July for his third trophy of the year, he also overtook Jack Nicklaus on the all-time career wins list with 74. Despite that impressive feat, Woods still felt a void in his season results as his major championship drought continued for one more season when Rory McIlroy captured the PGA Championship. Woods' last major victory came at the 2008 US Open.
In a career self-defined by 14 major victories, Woods again came up short of his own lofty expectations.
"I've always said winning one major championship turns a good year into a great year," Woods told reporters in Malaysia before this week's CIMB Classic.
"I've had years where I've won five times on Tour. Yeah, it's a really good year, no doubt, but winning a major championship just makes it a great year.
"The majors are such a different animal and different breed and we place so much emphasis on the them."
To suggest that Woods is being too hard on himself is a waste of time. Woods has always made it clear that his goal is to peak four times a season to coincide with each major. Even so, anybody could notice that Woods steadily improved throughout the year up until the Ryder Cup, where he only managed a half-point for the American team.
After all, Woods was ranked as low as 50th in the World Rankings at one point but is now in second position behind McIlroy. Not too shabby.
Part of his success can be attributed to an improvement off the tee box. Woods' driving accuracy and total driving statistics have improved significantly over the year. This is not to say there isn't still room for improvement, of course, as current stats show Woods is ranked 53rd on tour in driving.
Woods remains optimistic about his progression with the driver.
"I'm excited about turning some of my weaknesses into strengths," said Woods. "I hadn't driven very well in a very long time but this year is probably the best I had driven in my entire career. Length and accuracy, so I've improved in that regard."
His disappointing performance at the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club was somewhat misleading as Woods did make a ton of birdies over three days. None of that matters, of course, since the event is match play and "strokes under par" is a forgotten statistic for the week. There were also times when Woods appeared shaky with his wedges and short game, which he also acknowledged.
"There are times as I've gone through periods where I didn't hit it very good, didn't chip very good, didn't putt very good," Woods said. "I just got to go back and work harder."
Woods wraps up this season with two events overseas, including this week's event in Malaysia and next week's one-on-one match against McIlroy in China. His self-hosted World Challenge is also planned for December.