Tiger Woods reiterates he’s no intention of joining PGA European Tour
World number one is now chasing his 41st European Tour title in the Turkish Airlines Open
Tiger Woods promotes the Turkish Airlines Open on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul.November 5, 2013. Woods is in Turkey to attend the tournament, which will take place in Antalya, southern Turkey, between November 7 to 10. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: SPORT GOLF)
Tiger Woods reiterated yesterday that he has no intention of taking out membership of the PGA European Tour, although the world number one would have amassed a collection of order of merit titles if he had ever been so inclined.
“I thought about it years back, in the early 2000s. We had probably – what? – maybe seven, eight events that were co-sanctioned (by the European Tour and the PGA Tour). The minimum number (to play) to be a member (of the European Tour) was, I think, 11 at the time. I obviously just had to add a few more. But I didn’t go that route, and Monty ended up getting a few of those titles those years,” said Woods, referencing Colin Montgomerie who won a record eight order of merits.
If things were different, and he had taken up membership, Woods would be on the road to yet another European Tour order of merit title again this season.
In the seven co-sanctioned events he has played this season, which count towards the European Tour money list, playing in the four Majors and winning two of the three WGCs he turned up for, Woods has won the equivalent of €3.7 million, which would place him ahead of current money leader Henrik Stenson.
The fact is that Woods didn’t and hasn’t taken up European Tour membership, with the result that his performance here in the Turkish Airlines Open, fittingly enough over a course designed by Montgomerie, won’t affect the destination of the Race to Dubai title which looks set to be a battle to the end involving Henrik Stenson, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter as the main protagonists.
Woods – who missed out on last week’s WGC-HSBC championship in Shanghai, preferring instead to play some exhibitions in Singapore and Macau and giving the explanation that he is an “independent contractor” for missing out on the chance to claim a third WGC title this season – claimed that “the rust is starting to come off a little bit” after effectively closing down his competitive schedule following the Presidents Cup in September and now chasing his 41st European Tour title.
As far as golfing in Turkey is concerned, Woods – who is a global ambassador for Turkish Airlines – has been embraced.
On Tuesday, he hit a number of drives from West to East along the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul – “down the narrowest fairway I’ve ever seen. The wind is coming off the left a little bit, all these cars are driving on the right, so if I lose any balls to the right there’s an international incident right there . . . that was a little nerve-wracking” – and yesterday he played in the pro-am with the president of the Turkish Golf Federation and one of the country’s leading politicians. If Woods was in any doubt about his impact on them, the fact they were dressed from head-to-toe in Nike clothing would have affirmed his popularity.