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Woods eager to see 2010 in rearview mirror

Toward the end of a 21-minute news conference Tuesday, a reporter asked Tiger Woods, “With all the talk about this past year, are you tired of it or is it . . . ?”

“Yes,” a smiling Woods interrupted, sparking laughter in the room.

“Did I answer that too fast? Oh, sorry.”

Woods’ saga of the past year -- one that included a sex scandal, his subsequent divorce, a winless season and his fall from No. 1 in the world golf rankings -- now is an all-too-familiar story and one Woods would just as soon stop discussing publicly, judging by his answer.

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But he has one tournament left this year, the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, that benefits his Tiger Woods Foundation and other of the golfer’s charities. The four-day event starts Thursday.

So Woods again examined his difficult 2010 and, with the help of a new swing, his hopes for winning again.

“As a golfer I learned so much more this year than any other year, and as a person, infinitely more,” he said after practicing at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Sherwood Country Club course. “So it’s been a very successful year even though it was a very painful year as well.”

Woods, 34, has won 14 major championships -- second to Nicklaus’ 18 -- and he’s won the 18-player Chevron World Challenge four times. But he missed the tournament the last two years: In 2008 after he had knee surgery, and last year when he withdrew because the event came days after the Thanksgiving night car accident in Florida that set in motion his sensational scandal.

Asked whether his inability to win this year was due to his swing, his putting, his late start in April or his mental approach to the game, Woods replied, “It’s been all of the above.”

“I’ve dealt with a few things off the golf course, and on the golf course I’ve had to make some changes in my game,” he said. “You combine all that together, it’s very hard to be efficient for 72 straight holes.”

But Woods said he’s changed his swing before and, with the latest alterations, he’s “showed some good signs” over the last three tournaments. “It’s a process,” he said.

“My goal is to win every tournament I tee it up in,” Woods said. “But that does entail right now learning a new golf swing that requires a lot of work.”

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Englishman Lee Westwood a few weeks ago assumed the No. 1 ranking from Woods, who had held it for five consecutive years.

Woods could regain the top spot temporarily if he wins this weekend and Westwood, who’s playing in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, finishes outside the top two, according to the PGA Tour’s website.

But the tour said that even if Woods wins, and neither he nor Westwood plays again after this weekend, Westwood still would be the No. 1 golfer entering the 2011 season. That’s because the rankings are based on a two-year sliding scale with the oldest points eliminated at the end of each quarter.

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james.peltz@latimes.com


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