Saturday, October 07, 2006

Meteoric rise of Tiger Woods

Planning ahead, Tiger Woods talked life after golf, before making his appearance at the American Express World Golf Championships, as the World number one made a successful defence of his title at the Grove in Watford.

“I won’t play golf anymore when my best ain’t good enough. When I play well, I feel like I can win. I don’t see how you can go out there and play and prepare and know that your best isn’t good enough anymore. I couldn’t deal with that, so I’d move on and I have other interests. I will have a family by then, and by then certainly my foundation will be international and we’ll be doing different things there, so my plate will definitely be full,” commented Woods.

Still only thirty, Tiger is enjoying the friendship and bonding which the game brings, and touched upon the change around in his career, when he was once a solitary figure trying to play his way around tour, although times have now changed for the young master.

“Well, it’s been nice to have guys that were the same age as me because when I played my first cups, I was the youngest by eight, nine, ten years, and I was still getting to know the tour and know the guys. Now, I’m getting guys that I’ve played college and junior golf with and amateur golf out here on tour and also making these teams now.”

Its strictly down to business when the tournament starts, and despite close ties with Ulsterman, Darren Clarke, the pairing of the two players for the first two rounds at the World Golf Championships, rekindled their contact.

“He will always be my friend, no matter what. Darren is a fantastic guy. But when it’s time to compete, it’s time to compete. He’s trying to beat me as hard as I’m trying to beat him. That’s the nature of sport. When I play with my best friends, it doesn’t really matter. I’m trying to knock them off and they’re trying to knock me off. That’s the way sports should be. But there’s etiquette involved. You’ve got play with sportsmanship.”

Woods remains a legend in the game, and remembered the respect he received from the late Byron Nelson, who was a great admirer of his swing technique.

“He always liked the way I went through the golf ball. He always thought that the swing should be initiated with the legs. And if you look at his swing, that’s what he did. His legs drove through the golf ball more so than anybody else. He kept the face going towards the target line longer than anybody else. Because of it, that’s one of the reasons why he drove it so straight.”

With the majors finished for this year, Tiger is now hoping for some time out, and had a few unfinished plans in his locker.

“I’m just looking forward to getting back to the States and seeing the sun. I just can’t wait to work on my tan !”

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