Woods turned it around in Oz

Tiger Woods got a little competitive practice in Down Under before the Presidents Cup. David Cannon/Getty Images

Emirates Australian Open, Nov. 10-13, 68-67-75-67 (3rd)
After a series of exhibitions in Asia and Australia, Tiger Woods fulfilled his promise to Fred Couples that he would play the Australian Open the week before the Presidents Cup. And this is where the "process" began to evolve. After a second-round 67, Woods had the 36-hole lead.

But three straight bogeys to begin the third round suggested he was not quite ready to win for the first time in two years. He dropped 6 strokes behind leader John Senden. It was the third straight time he had shot par or worse when holding at least a share of the lead.

Yet Woods made a game of it on Sunday, shooting 67 to climb into contention, ultimately falling two shots short of Greg Chalmers -- after the former world No. 1 made two costly bogeys on the final nine. Still, it was Woods' best finish since winning the Australian Masters two years earlier.

Caddie Joe LaCava noticed in Sydney just how good Woods could be. His ballstriking was excellent. He hit 75 percent of his greens in regulation. The second round was a setback, but the tournament itself offered plenty of promise.

"I pretty much hit it on a string," Woods said.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.