Tiger lacks the concentration to win, says Faldo

 

Abu Dhabi

It will not just be the top four players in the world Tiger Woods will be trying to conquer on his seasonal bow in Abu Dhabi this week, but also his "broken concentration". That is the view of Sir Nick Faldo, who does not necessarily agree that the 14-time major champion turned a corner with his first win in more than two years.

Woods will likely have to be at his very best if he is to overcome the challenge posed by the European quartet at the head of the rankings – two Englishmen in Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, an Ulsterman in Rory McIlroy and a German in Martin Kaymer. But after triumphing at the Chevron World Challenge on his last start seven weeks ago, the 36-year-old is plainly confident. "I'm fit and ready to go," he said.

Faldo is just one of millions who will be intrigued as Woods attempts to prove he can once again compete at the very highest level. And, like most, he has his doubts about Woods collecting consecutive titles. "Tiger would win a tournament, disappear, come back, and round one [he played] without rust," so Faldo told Golf Monthly. "He'd come back and shoot 63 on day one, holing every putt. All that is not as easy [for him] as it used to be."

Although Woods claims he is 100 per cent, Faldo wants proof, and because of the strength of competition, the desert would be as good a place as any to start. "He's fighting a lot of things," said Faldo. "How good is his knee? How good is he technically? How good is his confidence? His concentration is broken."

Down at No 25 in the world, Woods clearly has plenty of room for improvement, but he thinks his success in the 18-man, limited field in California has lifted the pressure. "For me, winning the World Challenge like that [he birdied the last two holes to beat Zach Johnson by a stroke], it's a win," he said. "I don't have to answer more questions about when my next win is going to come."

Except the crowds will be flocking in record numbers to the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship anticipating when Woods will next win. He is being paid more than $2m (£1.28m) to tee it up this week in the UAE rather than at Torrey Pines, one of his favourite tracks, and already HSBC believes it has seen a return on its investment.

"Tiger is such a giant of the sport that people would still have come to watch," said Giles Morgan, the bank's head of sponsorship. "What is so fascinating is the way he has been working on his game and getting his life into order. I know that he sees 2012 as the year he wants that all to pay off."

Organisers estimate an attendance of more than double the 40,000 last year. The field certainly deserves it, with six of the world's top 10 lining up. Woods, however, remains the biggest draw and it is something of a coup for the European Tour to boast his presence on his campaign curtain-raiser for the first time in his 16-year career.

"He is a superstar," said Peter German, the tournament director. "Not everybody has had the chance to come and see him, and he is still very, very attractive."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor