In his last playing appearance nine days ago, Woods lost to Rory McIlroy in a match-play exhibition at Mission Hills in China.
“I have to say when I played against Rory, I was a little bit on the rusty side, because I hadn’t touched a club in a couple weeks,” Woods said in a news conference Wednesday advancing his play in the Turkish Airlines Open. “After the Presidents Cup, I shut it down. Actually, I started playing better [against McIlroy] as the day went on. I think I shot 5 under par, so I wasn’t too bad. Rory obviously clipped me by a shot. But I have been playing in Singapore, the exhibition, as well as in Macau. So, I’ve been playing a little bit of golf. The rust is starting to come off a little bit.”
Woods had answers to questions on a few topics in his 12-minute news conference:
On Ernie Els’ rant against the European Tour’s requirement that members play two of the first three events of The Final Series to qualify for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai – “You have to understand a lot of those guys also are full-fledged members of our tour as well. They are playing a full schedule, plus what you have to do all the way through our playoffs and International cups. And I think they basically have to go to Asia a couple weeks and also to the Middle East. So, there is a lot of golf to be played in that stretch, and I think some of the players are a little bit worn out . . . Ernie, Charl, they go back home to support their tours, too. So, they are playing year around, non-stop. They are playing a global game. Not everyone plays around the world all the time, but there is a hand full of guys who do. Ernie, of my generation of guys, has probably traveled more than anyone. I certainly understand where he is coming from.”
On why he chose not to play the WGC-HSBC Champions while in Asia: “Independent contractor . . . that’s it.”
On whether he was concerned about reports that Vijay Singh’s attorneys argued in a recent hearing in Singh’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour that the Tour has made multiple exceptions for violators of its drug policy: “It’s all hypothetical, and I don’t have any of the facts. Until I know, I can’t give you a real answer.”
On any further reaction to Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee and Chamblee’s regret over going too far in his analysis of Woods and penalty drops: “I have said everything I want to say, and that’s that.”