Woods the wag?
- 12 Sep 06, 06:09 PM
LONDON - Tiger Woods amuses me. He’s desperate to have us believe he has transformed from ultimate solo sportsman to the beating heart of the US Ryder Cup team.
Woods says he is keen to finally take on a leadership role at the K Club.
But he’s been the best player in the world for nigh on a thousand years, and yet only now does he decide to come in from the cold and embrace the team ethic of the competition.
Woods' career, you see, is all about creating a legacy, from the umpteen PGA Tour records he’s broken, to beating Jack Nicklaus’ haul of 18 majors.
And he has realised that being remembered as a great Ryder Cup man will also look good on his CV. Up to now, of course, he has been seen as a peripheral figure, labelled as an individual, and an awkward one to pair up at that.
But this year the team dynamic will be different, according to Woods.
"As far as our team coming together it's very interesting that actually it's a younger team. I believe I'm still the youngest... most of the guys are between 30 and 40 where most years we have a sprinkling of maybe three or four guys in their 40s," he said.
"Brett (Wetterich) might be the oldest of the four rookies at 33. I think we can all relate to each other being so much the same age.”
Quite what this 30-year-old 12-time major-winning global sporting icon and all-round phenomenon has in common with the likes of America’s four rookies Brett Wetterich, Zach Johnson, JJ Henry and Vaughan Taylor (not even household names in their own households), is anyone’s guess.
But I love the idea of Woods portraying himself as an average Joe.
When the Americans visited the K Club last month, Woods said he was looking forward to “having a few beers and hanging out with the guys”. Just how did they "hang out" do you think? Around the fruit machine? Was Phil Mickelson involved?
I'm also intrigued about the conversation when Woods took the four freshmen – The Wettmeister, ZJ (like sea-jay), Tails and Jeej - out to dinner recently. (If I was them, I would have chosen the most expensive thing on the menu. And ordered a second bottle of wine).
"We had a great time,” said Woods. “We had some nice steak and we basically just talked about my experiences in the cup, what to expect...things you have to be ready for and also to reiterate to these guys that they have earned their place on the team."
Now, I obviously don’t know Woods from Adam (and I don’t know him that well) but he is arguably the most famous single-minded, driven individual athlete of our time.
In fact, some boffins recently did some research and worked out that Woods’ presence at the World Match Play, the Ryder Cup and the WGC event in Hertfordshire the week after would pull in more than £150m through spectators, merchandise, hospitality, tourism, sponsorship, radio and TV coverage.
"The size and reach of the Tiger economy is remarkable,” said Professor Cannon, Dean of Business at the University of Buckingham,
"We estimate the total value on the core golf economy to be as high as £170m. Drawing these figures together gives an astonishing picture not only of the impact of a single, outstanding sportsman but of the growing power and influence of sport and sporting celebrity."
So I’m really having trouble picturing him as the kind of guy comfortable swigging out of a warm beer can at the back of the bus and leading the singing.
Woods might inspire his team on the golf course, but my money is on Chris DiMarco kicking off the nightly charades at the K Club.
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