A tired Tiger says he will be ready for Taiwanese tournament

Fatigued from a 20-hour flight and a grueling tournament schedule, a bleary-eyed Tiger Woods said today that his late tee off at the Johnnie Walker Classic will give him time to shake jet lag.

Fatigued from a 20-hour flight and a grueling tournament schedule, a bleary-eyed Tiger Woods said today that his late tee off at the Johnnie Walker Classic will give him time to shake jet lag.

On his first visit to Taiwan, Woods will try to extend his incredible four-tournament winning streak at the classic, which starts on Thursday at the Ta Shee Golf and Country Club in suburban Taipei.

"It took us 20 hours to get here. We stopped in Dubai and Bangkok to get here," said Woods, who arrived on Tuesday after winning the American Express Championship in Sotogrande, Spain, on Sunday.

"The time change hasn't been too hard to get over, but hard enough. Last night I didn't sleep all that well," said Woods, adding that he was fortunate to have a late tee-off time.

Woods' tournament victory in Spain was his fourth straight and eighth this season. He is defending his title in the $1.3 million Johnnie Walker Classic, which was held in Thailand last year.

No one since Ben Hogan in 1953 has won four straight tournaments. Woods won the NEC Invitational, Disney Classic, Tour Championship and the World Golf Championship in Spain.

However, a win in the Classic, which is not sanctioned by the US Professional Golf Association, will not count toward Woods' latest string of victories, which were all on the now-concluded PGA tour. The Classic is co-sanctioned by the Australian, Asian and European Professional Golf Associations.

Other golfers have said the long course at Ta Shee would favor a powerful driver like Woods, but the 23-year-old golfer said that might not be the case.

"The golf course is long on the scorecar are playing really fast," Woods said.

Drives get so much bounce that some players known as long hitters have been handling the fairways in practice sessions with smaller clubs, such as nine irons and eight irons, even on par five holes, Woods said.

Woods said competing in Asia is special because his mother is Thai and has ancestral ties to China.

"For me, coming to Asia is like coming home," he said. "I was raised under an Asian culture. My mother was very strict, as are moshim of Thailand.

"I've always wanted to visit Taiwan and China and see the rich history," he said.

Woods will probably be visiting the region more often in the future as his Tiger Woods Foundation expands into Asia. The foundation, which teaches golf to underprivileged children, will be setting up operations in Thailand soon, and may also hold programs in China and Japan, Woods said.

"Maybe there will be a champion golfer, who knows," Woods said.

After his news conference, the American teed off in a one-day, 18-hole tournament between teams of professionals and amateurs from clubs in Taiwan. The field of 11 3-person teams started out under a bright sun with a slight haze lingering over the heavily forested hills that rim the scenic course.

The golfer said his recent string of victories has not softened his desire to win in Taiwan.

"Every time I tee up, I tee up to win," he said. "That's always been my goal since I was a little boy and that hasn't changed."

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