Woods remains positive despite Open failure

Tiger Woods hits a shot from the rough on the first hole during the second round of the 2003 U.S. Open on the North Course. Woods finished way down the order. "Of course, you would like to win every tournament you enter, but that's not going to happen. What you can control is your effort level, and I gave it all I had this week," said the World No. 1.-Pic. CRAIG JONES/GETTY IMAGES

Tiger Woods fed off the frustration of failure to talk candidly about his future and the American arrived at a chilling conclusion for his rivals.

Tiger Woods fed off the frustration of failure to talk candidly about his future and the American arrived at a chilling conclusion for his rivals.

"I hate to say it, but my motivation is increasing," Woods said after finishing his nightmare U.S. Open campaign at three over par.

"I find it so much fun, I get a certain rush from the game. Since I was a kid I have liked to go out in the evenings and play a few holes by myself, and I feel that, as I go through (life), I am getting even more enjoyment from it.

"I am learning more things and finding more enjoyment from hitting better shots."

Asked if he would like to be a fixture at U.S. Opens in 20 years' time, he added: "If I'm physically able to do it, I would love to."

Woods's upbeat nature at the south Chicago course was a polar opposite to the manner of the 27-year-old's challenge, which suffered a weekend-long nadir.

A five-over-par round of 75 on Saturday — his worst ever U.S. Open score as a professional — and a double bogey during his final round 72 on Sunday condemned him to a lowly finish.

It also left the world number one without a major championship to defend for the first time since 1999, prompting sceptics to wonder if Woods's golden era, fuelled by eight majors between 1997 and 2002, may have ended.

Despite participating in a recent television commercial which asked the increasingly redundant question 'Who can beat Tiger Woods?', the man himself was eager to outline how human he is.

It was put to him that he might sometimes feel like giving up during a round, and he told reporters: "We've all been there. "I think the hardest thing about this sport is that you're out there by yourself. When you're playing great, it's a great game. When you're playing badly it's a lonely world.

"I do think (people expect too much). Some of the good shots. I've hit weren't really that great, and the poor shots were not that poor.

"When I win everything seems like, `he can never lose'. Then all of a sudden I don't win a couple of tournaments and...

"Of course, you would like to win every tournament you enter, but that's not going to happen. What you can control is your effort level, and I gave it all I had this week."

Woods is well aware his legacy in golf — of just where he ranks in the list of all-time greats — is yet to be realised, something that will conflict with his plans for a personal life as he heads towards his thirties.

"I'm looking forward (to having a wife and family)," he said.

"But there's no doubt it would change (my attitude). It would be harder to prepare for events because your focus is somewhere else, with your family.

"You want to see them succeed, and when it comes down to it, your success is miniscule compared to the success of your kids.

"You have to be (selfish) to a certain extent (to be a champion), and everyone you're with — including your wife and kids and friends — have to understand what it takes to achieve.

"It's not easy. It takes a special group and person to be with you through all that."