Hungry Tiger on prowl for fifth Masters victory after emphatic Bay Hill triumph
14:36 GMT, 26 March 2012
A resurgent Tiger Woods has his sights set on winning a fifth green jacket at next week's Masters after finally ending a 30-month victory drought on the PGA Tour.
The 36-year-old won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill by five strokes from Graeme McDowell to lift himself back up to sixth in the world rankings.
But Woods exists purely for major championships – of which he has won 14 – and hopes he can maintain his recent upturn in form when he heads back to Augusta.
On the prowl: Tiger Woods is keen to add a fifth Masters major to his name
'It's nice (winning before the Masters) I've won here on a few occasions going into Augusta which has always been a good feeling,” said Woods.
'I've gone into Augusta with wins and without wins. You're looking for one week, that's all.
'Hopefully everything comes together for that one week. I understand how to play Augusta National and it's just a matter of executing the game plan.
'They have made a couple little subtle changes out there but overall the golf course is still basically the same, so I'm looking forward to it.
'I still have got some work to do but I'm excited about the things that we have accomplished. It's been very good.'
Victory at Bay Hill ended a long wait for Woods – although he did win the unofficial Chevron World Challenge in December – and took him to 72 PGA Tour titles.
Winning feeling: Woods celebrated victory at Bay Hill on Sunday
He needs only one more to match the haul by Jack Nicklaus, whose 18 major wins is his primary target, and that would leave just Sam Snead's record of 82 ahead of him.
The fact he could equal Nicklaus' tally of PGA Tour wins at Augusta, where he has been so successful in the past, is of less significance than winning the tournament itself to Woods.
'It's nice but I'm looking forward to more of the green jacket part of it than tying Jack in that regard,' he added.
'Jack's had an amazing career and he's won a bunch of tournaments – but also he's won more majors than anybody else.
'So I'm looking forward to my opportunities this year.
'There's four of them (majors) this year and hopefully I can peak at the right times for all four.'
Woods believes the work he has been doing with coach Sean Foley has started to come together in recent weeks and winning at Bay Hill finally produced hard evidence of that.
'This is our progression; we are heading in the same direction,' he said.
'I've gotten better and that's the main thing. I've been close for a number of tournaments now and it was just a matter of just staying the course and staying patient, keep working on fine-tuning what we're doing – and here we are.
'This was coming. We all knew the things that we were working on were coming together and were starting to solidify.
All smiles: Woods, looking happy alongside caddie Joe LaCava, is the favourite to win this year's Masters
'It's not like winning a major championship or anything but it certainly feels really good.'
Woods's absence from the winner's circle has been as a result of a number of factors, with a very public sex scandal and marriage break-up coinciding with injuries.
And he said fitness problems rather than any mental aspect had been the toughest to deal with.
'It's by far the injuries because you can't practice,' he said.
High five: A resurgent Woods wants to win his fifth Green Jacket
'I haven't been able to put in the time. I can't make a swing change and make all of the adaptations we need to make unless I can practice and I had not been able to do that.
'So being on the sideline most of last year was tough.'
Colin Montgomerie told Sky Sports News that Woods' return to winning ways was 'ominous' for the leading European golfers but he added: 'It is good for the game. The last three years have been difficult but to have him back winning is good for golf – everybody is talking about it.'