Tiger Woods says he is knocking some rust off his game in his journey across Asia, but he’s still the overwhelming favorite to win the Turkish Airlines Open this week.
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.”