GOLF: Woods has commitment to get better |

GOLF: Woods has commitment to get better

Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Tiger Woods faces his first full year without a victory if he doesn’t defend this title this week in the Australian Masters. Whatever happens, he has no doubt his game is going in the right direction.

“If it happens, it happens,” Woods said after seeing Victoria Golf Club for the first time. “I’m going to give it my best. But that doesn’t change my commitment to getting better.”

He won last year at Kingston Heath to wrap a week like no other in Melbourne, which featured record crowds that topped 100,000 over four rounds. It was his 82nd career victory, and he was No. 1 in the world with no argument.

Just over a week later, however, Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant and revelations began to unfold about his extramarital affairs, which shattered his image and rocked his world on and off the golf course.

Woods is not looking at his return Down Under as a chance to come full circle. It was in Australia when a supermarket tabloid first linked him to a New York nightclub hostess. And it was in Australia where he last looked like such a daunting figure in the sport.

“I’m here to defend a title,” Woods said. “I’m playing a great golf course and a great field. That’s the way I look at.”

Asked if he had mixed emotions, Woods shook his head.

“I wanted to come back,” he said. “I love it down here.”

Woods lost his No. 1 ranking two weeks ago to Lee Westwood, who widened the gap with a runner-up finish in Shanghai. Woods figures the only way to get it back is to do what he did to get there – win tournaments.