Tiger Woods' week in Australia was, for the latter half of 2010 at least, fairly predictable. Up and down golf and nowhere near winning; yet, some small, positive signs.
Woods actually finished in fourth at the JBWere Masters in Melbourne. A strong finish on Sunday shot him up the leader board, although never into contention to win. Aussie Stuart Appleby matched Tiger's round of 65 on Sunday and won by a shot over fellow-Aussie Adam Bland. Woods was three back.
"It would have been nice if I had gotten off to that start," Tiger said after his impressive 65 in the final round.
Woods, who won the event a year ago, has just one more shot at winning a golf tournament in 2010. Tiger will be in the field next month at the Chevron World Challenge in California.
As Tiger wraps up 2010, he can feel much better about the last few months than he can about the first several. Woods played fairly well from mid to late summer on, although none of his better play resulted in taking home a title.
One thing he clearly needs to address moving forward is his sudden inability to be consistent with the putter. Tiger switched putters mid-tournment in Australia, not the first time he has done this in 2010. The switch this week did not seem to make a difference right away, although on Sunday, especially on the back nine, he was putting much better.
It seems as though Tiger is fairly happy to continue to work with swing coach Sean Foley. Foley and Tiger have, reportedly, been working mainly on removing the Hank Haney influences from Tiger's swing.
Tiger's goal moving forward into the new year will be to play consistent golf. Woods knows better than anyone what it takes to win golf tournaments, and that is playing well for four rounds, not one or two.
"I can do this in streaks," he said. "Unfortunately, I haven't done this for an entire round. It takes time. The streaks are now lasting longer. I still need to do it for an entire round. Obviously, I didn't do it for 72 holes."