Back when Tiger Woods was in his heyday, the only way the golfer himself measured the success of a campaign was by counting the number of major championships he put in the win column.
Times have changed, and though the 37-year-old Woods has now gone five years without winning one of the elite events, Tiger said his five PGA Tour titles so far this season add up to a "great season."
Despite all four major trophies ending up in other players’ hands, Woods had not packed it in and was going for his sixth win this week at The Barclays, hoping to pick up some more hardware before he called it a year.
"You're going to have years where you don't win major championships and years that you do," Woods told reporters Wednesday after quitting the pro-am after nine holes because of a sore back he blamed on a soft hotel bed. "There's years where I've won one tournament and years where I've won nine. So as long as I keep winning in all those years, it's not too bad."
While Woods’ eyes are still on the prize -- chasing down Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors, even though he hasn’t made a dent in the Golden Bear’s mark since he won the 2008 U.S. Open -- he was pleased with what he’s accomplished in 2013.
"This year's been a great year so far," Woods said. "I've won at two of my favorite venues [Torrey Pines and Bay Hill], plus winning two World Golf Championships and a Players [Championship] in there. It's been pretty good."
With making any progress toward Nicklaus’ achievement out of reach until next April at the Masters, four straight wins in the FedEx Cup playoffs, the first of which is underway at Liberty National Golf Course, by Tiger would move him ahead of Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82 tour wins. That was nothing to sneeze at, said Woods, who has 79.
"I never thought I would ever get there this quick," Woods said about being on the threshold of 80 victories. "It's been an amazing, amazing run to get here. The consistency is one of the things I'm most proud of, winning five or more tournaments, 10 years in there. That's one of the stats that I look at as one of the ones I'm really proud of. This is one of those years.
"I'm second on the all-time list on both, whether it's majors or all-time wins," Woods added. "That's not bad at my age."
To add to his all-time total, Woods will have to overcome yet another injury -- the most recent the result of one of those dratted hotel beds that caused his aching back to act up.
"My neck and back are a little bit stiff, it was stiff this morning after a soft bed and just one of those things, sleeping in hotels, and I didn't want to push it," said Woods, who has had similar complaints in the past about mattresses that were not up to snuff. "So just took it easy and chipped and putted."
He’ll also have to beat back a talent-rich field and do so, this week at least, on a course and a tournament that have not exactly been his favorites. When Liberty National hosted The Barclays in 2009, Woods and others were less than complimentary about the venue, with Tiger reportedly saying that "maybe Tom [Kite, who co-designed the layout] did this course before his [Lasik] eye operation."
After his limited time on the track on Wednesday, Woods offered that the changes Kite and co-architect Bob Cupp made had improved things.
"Some of the landing areas have been changed," he said. "Some of the greens have been changed and a couple bunkers have been repositioned, but they have made some really nice, positive improvements."
With that in mind, Woods’ aim for the coming weeks was to win his third FedEx Cup title and its $10 million payout. All of which would be swell, but would not fill the hole in his trophy room where his 15th grand slam event belongs.
"I think the major," Woods conceded in response to a query about whether six wins in a season would trump winning just one major.
About the bed situation. Woods, who certainly has the wherewithal to fly his own mattress around the world, and complained about a sore back during the recent PGA Championship, has had issues with hotel beds before.
Last year, with The Barclays at Bethpage Black, Woods seemed to be in pain during his first two rounds. After the second day, when he shot a 2-under 69, he pointed to his sleeping arrangements as the culprit.
"Must have slept funny on it. Soft beds at the hotel, and woke up this morning with it stiff," he told the media a year ago. "You know, as I warmed up, it got progressively worse, and then you saw what happened on the golf course."
Woods proceeded to score 72 and 76 over the weekend and ended up at T38 in a tournament he has yet to win.
With a par on the par-4 10th, his first of the day this Thursday, Woods was at even at The Barclays before weather delayed play in Jersey City.