ATLANTA (Reuters) - Tiger Woods ended his 2013 PGA Tour campaign with an unimpressive tie for 22nd at the Tour Championship on Sunday but, in all likelihood, will earn Player of the Year honors which are to be announced late next week.
Though he has not been at his best in the last three FedExCup playoff events, the world number one has piled up five victories on the U.S. circuit this season, three more than anyone else.
“Very satisfied,” Woods said of his golfing year after closing with a three-under-par 67 for a level-par total of 280 in the PGA Tour’s season finale at East Lake Golf Club.
“I had a number of chances to win some tournaments. I won five, which is, I think, a pretty good year. I’ve done that a few times over the course of my career.
“I wish I would have been a little more consistent in some of the events, but overall, to add to the win total for the year, it’s always a good thing,” said the American, who failed to contend at East Lake after opening with scores of 73 and 71.
Asked to assess his own credentials in the PGA Player of the Year race, Woods replied bluntly: “Well, look at the fact that I had five wins this year, so I think that’s a pretty good year.”
His main challengers for that accolade are Masters champion Adam Scott and British Open winner Phil Mickelson, who have both triumphed twice on the 2013 PGA Tour, but Woods is widely expected to secure the players’ vote for an 11th time.
Woods, who has not won a major title since the 2008 U.S. Open, conceded he had fared badly in some of the biggest tournaments of the year, especially over the weekends.
“I’m always looking to improve and become more consistent day-in and day-out,” the 14-times major champion said. “There’s certainly some weeks where I was just off.
“I always wish I could play a little bit more consistent and have a chance each and every time I tee it up. That’s the intent. It doesn’t always work out that way. But overall ... I think it’s been a really good year.”
Woods teed off in the final round at East Lake a distant 14 strokes off the lead, his sole objective being to shoot the lowest score possible and then see where that took him.
Wearing his trademark red shirt for the last day of a tournament, he was fortunate to par the opening hole after he pulled his approach way left and watched his ball hit tree branches to drop straight down into a greenside bunker.
From there, he impressively splashed out to a foot and knocked in the putt.
Woods picked up his first shot of the day at the par-three second, ramming in a 35-foot putt from across the green, but he gave that back at the eighth by missing a four-footer for par.
Another birdie followed at the par-five ninth, where he chipped from in front of the green to just two feet, for him to reach the turn in one-under 34.
Three birdies in four holes from the par-four 12th got Woods back to one under for the tournament for the first time since late in his second round.
He sank a 10-footer at the 12th, a 12-footer at the 14th and narrowly missed an eagle putt from 20 feet at the par-five 15th before tapping in for his fifth birdie of the day.
However, he stumbled with a bogey at the 16th after pushing his tee shot into the right rough and hitting his approach in between two greenside bunkers before signing off with pars on 17 and 18.
As Woods walked off the 18th green, he was met by his daughter Sam who ran up to him before wrapping her arms around his legs.
“That’s what life’s all about,” Woods smiled. “There are more important things in life than hitting a little round ball and putting it in a gopher hole, you know.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Gene Cherry