• World rankings

Woods ready for hard-earned rest

ESPN staff
December 3, 2012
Tiger Woods is pleased with improvements to his short game © PA Photos

Tiger Woods insists there is reason to be optimistic heading into the 2013 season after he failed to defend his World Challenge title in California.

Woods, the tournament host of the 18-player event at Sherwood Country Club, trailed in eight shots off the pace of winner Graeme McDowell.

The world No. 3 threatened to launch a late charge with a stunning eagle at the 16th, but he was forced to settle for a share of fourth at Thousand Oaks.

But despite being some way off his best, Woods is pleased with the progress he made this season - picking up three titles - and is predicting big things for 2013.

"Overall I struggled with my game this week," Woods admitted. "I didn't quite have it. But I've come a long way. Last year was a very disappointing year. I was hurt for most of the year and didn't really do much.

"And then to win this event last year, which spring-boarded me into this year. I won three times on tour, and once I passed Jack [Nicklaus] on my all-time wins that was a pretty neat accomplishment as well."

Although Woods has now gone over four years since his victory at the 2008 US Open, the 14-time major winner believes he will come back refreshed and raring to go after a well-earned break, and is taking heart from improvements in his game.

"My short game has been really good from late summer on," he said. "I was hitting the ball a little better so I was spending more time chipping and putting. But now I've got to hit the ball better than I have. I've got six weeks off so it will be nice to throw the clubs in the closet for a few weeks and then get back after it.

"It's been a long year and I've played a lot," Woods added. "I'm really looking forward to it, just having nothing to do with golf for a few weeks, put [my clubs] away, enjoy the holidays and be with my kids.

"After that I'll start cranking back up again and start focusing on my shots. As far as actually sitting out there, working on my technique, my numbers and all that stuff, that's probably not going to happen at least until after Christmas."

World rankings: 1. Rory McIlroy (NIR), 2. Luke Donald (ENG), 3. Tiger Woods (USA), 4. Justin Rose (ENG), 5. Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), 6. Lee Westwood (ENG), 7. Adam Scott (AUS), 8. Jason Dufner (USA), 9. Brandt Snedeker (USA), 10. Webb Simpson (USA), 11. Keegan Bradley (USA), 12. Bubba Watson (USA), 13. Ian Poulter (ENG), 14. Graeme McDowell (NIR), 15. Phil Mickelson (USA), 16. Steve Stricker (USA), 17. Nick Watney (USA), 18. Peter Hanson (SWE), 19. Matt Kuchar (USA), 20. Bo Van Pelt (USA)

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