December 23, 2014

Tiger’s Blog: Reflections and looking ahead to 2015

As a golfer, 2014 was one of my most frustrating years because I’ve been hurt pretty much all year. I’m finally healthy enough to practice and dedicate myself to the game of golf again, and that’s going to be fun for next year.

But, in so many other ways, it was a great year and I have a lot to be thankful for.

My kids are doing fantastic and are growing up and maturing, and it’s happening faster than I ever thought. They’re teaching me how to work an iPad, which is really funny.

Lindsey Vonn is doing great. Her rehab was fantastic, and she worked so hard at it. She just won her second World Cup Downhill race last week in France and is only one win away from tying the all-time record and is two from breaking it, which is pretty incredible.

It was nice to see my good friend Arjun Atwal win the Dubai Open last week. He’s had some physical ailments and doesn’t really have a playing card; it’s just hit-and-miss tournaments and hard to get any momentum. But he birdied the last hole to win, and that’s really exciting.

I was really happy to see my niece Cheyenne earn her LPGA playing card for 2015. I found out after Sunday’s round at the Hero World Challenge that she had qualified, and I called her from the cart barn at Isleworth Golf & Country Club. I couldn’t be more proud. She paid her dues and traveled the world. It wasn’t a handout. She struggled with a 79 in the second round but came back strong. For her to do that shows so much maturity and mental strength, and I think that will serve her well going forward.

It’s been a really exciting year for my foundation. We launched a new event series called the Tiger Woods Charity Playoffs, enjoyed working with two new title sponsors, Quicken Loans and Hero, for our tournaments, and welcomed new leadership with CEO Rick Singer. I’m really excited about what Rick brings to the table and have really enjoyed working with him so far. We have some big plans for the foundation.

The Hero World Challenge was fantastic. We went to Isleworth and Orlando for one year, and it was great to see a lot of the people that I have gotten to know through the years. I would like to thank Mr. Munjal, Vice Chairman & CEO of Hero MotoCorp, for his support of the event and my foundation. We’ve developed a great relationship and have a shared vision. Jordan Spieth played tremendous golf. The next three years we are going to Albany in the Bahamas, so we’re looking forward to that. We should draw a pretty good field as well, because some of the top players live in the community of Albany, and there’s a good chance they will play in the event. My staff at the foundation has done an incredible job, and I am proud of them as well.

It was a busy year for our golf course design group. We had the grand opening for El Cardonal at Diamante in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, last week, and the initial reviews were fantastic. Bluejack National in Houston should be open by the fall of next year, and our newest design called the Trump World Golf Club, Dubai, is just getting started.

In October, I had the privilege to induct Notah Begay III, who is like a brother to me, into the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame. It was neat to go back to The Farm and to be around the place that really has transformed my life after being around so many gifted, articulate and brilliant people. I missed being there. The majority of students on campus were their high school’s valedictorians. To be able to hang out with the men’s and women’s golf teams … the questions that they asked were amazing, because you can tell just how deep they are thinking about things. I just remember when I was attending there, the conversations and the debates we would have were on a very deep level. The questions they were asking me about golf weren’t just, ‘How do you hit a high draw?’ It was much deeper than that and it was fun for me.

Congratulations to Patrick Rodgers for breaking my Stanford records for tournament wins and career scoring average. Patrick eclipsed it, worked very hard and got it done.

As for my 2015 golf season, I’m mostly excited about being healthy again. I’ve struggled for the past year-and-half with my back, and it showed in my results. Even though I won five times two years ago, it was hit or miss some weeks and got progressively worse. Now that it feels healthy, strong and stable, it’s fun to be able to play with my kids again, to play soccer and run around with them, shoot hoops … things that I used to do and took for granted. For anybody who has ever had a bad back with nerve damage, it’s downright debilitating. To not feel that is finally just incredible relief.

I am still working on my playing schedule and should have it figured out shortly. The kids, Lindsey and I are going to spend Christmas together and we’re going to have a great time.

Like I said, I have a lot to be thankful for.

Thanks to everyone for your continued encouragement and support. I wish you all a happy, healthy and safe holiday season and all the best in 2015.