x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Q&A with Tiger Woods

The American talks ahead of his debut at the National Course at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Tiger Woods says he is excited to play in Abu Dhabi.
Tiger Woods says he is excited to play in Abu Dhabi.

How has your outlook changed since winning the Chevron?

My outlook hasn't changed but, boy, it felt good to be back in the winner's circle. It felt amazing to end the season with a "W" and I feel very excited about what's ahead in 2012. I have been feeling fit and healthy, which is the biggest difference, and had started to hit the ball like I had at home, so I knew I was heading in the right direction.

What went right for you, in Thousand Oaks, that had not gone right in previous tournaments?

It wasn't the case of anything in particular changing or going right - I had been building up towards a win. I felt I was improving each week and the big difference is that I am fully fit again and have been able to put in the practice and work to play well. Before, I hadn't been able to do the reps I needed to get consistent and confident.

What do you know of the National Course and of Abu Dhabi?

I haven't played it but I am excited to. I have seen it a little on TV and have heard from the guys out on Tour what a great championship course it is. I am looking forward to getting to know Abu Dhabi itself as I haven't been there before.

What is your impression of the field for the tournament here?

I think it is going to be an outstanding week with a lot of top players looking to start off their seasons with a win. It is a great field and it really is strong as any we see outside the majors and the World Golf Championships. There will be a lot of world ranking points on offer because of the strength and depth of the field. Not that you need an incentive to win an important tournament like Abu Dhabi but, also, it being a Ryder Cup year, there will be a lot of guys looking to pick up points.

As the most prominent American golfer to play regularly outside the US, can you update us on the changes you have seen in the game in Asia and Africa?

You know, I like to play around the world and love playing in front of golf fans all around the world. I feel lucky to get such incredible support. Golf in Asia has grown so much in the years I have been travelling over there to play and it has been amazing to watch how quickly their knowledge and level of golf expertise has increased. Asian golfers are making a real impact. Look at last year: Yani Tseng has been dominating the LPGA, KJ Choi is playing great, winning The Players Championship, and there are some really talented young guys such as [Ryo] Ishikawa and Noh [Seung-yul]. South African golfers are doing well now with Charl Schwartzel, the reigning Masters champion, and Louis Oosthuizen winning the [British] Open two years ago, following in the footsteps of Ernie [Els] and Retief [Goosen] and, of course, South Africa's greatest, Gary Player.

* Agency