Higher expectations as Woods builds towards the Masters

Tiger Woods' expectations have "gone up" after his 12th placing at the Honda Classic in Florida yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Though a double-bogey at the 15th ended any outside chance of victory at PGA National, Woods took confidence from his performance in just his third official start since undergoing a spinal fusion last April.

An apparently healthy Woods seems increasingly likely to head to April's Masters, the first Major of the year, as a contender, rather than just one of the players invited back as a former champion.

"I feel like each time out I've gotten better and I've gotten more of a feel for playing tournament golf," he said. "The last couple days, it felt easy to play tournament golf.

"The warm-up felt good. I get into the flow of the round.

"I could find the rhythm of the rounds faster. The more golf I'm playing tournament-wise, the faster I'm able to click into the feel of the round.

"I feel very happy the way I played the entire week."

He shot 70 on Sunday to finish at even-par 280, eight strokes behind winner Justin Thomas.

Four weeks ago, Woods was equal 23rd in his official comeback at Torrey Pines, while he missed the cut last week at Riviera, where one bad round of 76 cost him.

It is his only score of more than 72 in 10 rounds this year.

"I'm just building towards April," he said. "I'm trying to get myself ready for that and I feel like I'm right on track for that." - REUTERS