Tiger Woods stated he’s “infinitely” happier as the calendar approaches one year since the accident that pulled back the curtain on his extramarital escapades, telling ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” morning show his perspective is much clearer these days.
“If (the accident) didn’t happen,” he said, “I don’t think I’d be as blessed and balanced as I am now.”
Just what that means, though, he never got around to explaining.
Despite spending a half-hour on the show, Woods offered listeners very little that hadn’t already been spoken as far back as his first post-scandal open forum when he made his competitive return at the Masters.
• The past year has been rough for him to go through, but he’s a better person for it. Check.
• He got away from the “core values” instilled by his parents. Check.
• His two children are the most important thing to him. Check.
• He’s thankful for the counsel of friends and appreciation of fans. Check.
“That’s been the biggest surprise of all, just how great the fans have been in all this,” he said. “When I go shopping at Albertson’s to get something for the kids, there’s this amazing reception. Everyone wants to see me out there again and doing well.”
Woods also acknowledged that fans have told him he didn’t look very happy in the weeks and months before the scandal began to make headlines.
“People have said that to me, that in the past couple of years I wasn’t very happy when I was playing — I was frustrated, I was down, I was angry,” he said. “Which I was. I wasn’t happy with who I was.
“That’s been the great thing about this year. As part of looking back into my life and being more introspective (about) who I am and how I’ve come out the other side.”
Woods did say he remains driven to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles, but admitted he needs work: “I’d still like to get to 19, no doubt about that. But I need to play better. Shooting rounds in the 70s isn’t going to get it done.”
The recently deposed world No. 1 is three months into his work with swing consultant Sean Foley. Though he’s shown flashes of the old Tiger brilliance — an opening 65 at The Barclays, playing the final six holes of the Australian Masters in 6-under — the consistency remains elusive.