Woods frightens rivals by vowing to improve
Thursday 01 February 2007
As the man with the biggest bank balance in sport and the finest winning record in golf, Tiger Woods was entitled to impart some advice to his nearest pursuers here yesterday. To Ernie Els he declared "keep improving", while to David Beckham he said "keep earning". Both should take it the right way.
As a good friend, Els will, of course, as he tries at last to get one over on the world No 1 in this week's Desert Classic. And Beckham should, too, because this particular "casual follower" of LA Galaxy was in fact giving his blessing to the sportsman who may be about to challenge Woods' fame in his homeland.
"No doubt about it, there's a room for another sports star in the States, especially in Los Angeles," said Woods, who reportedly earns twice Beckham's weekly salary of £500,000. "We've lost two gridiron teams in the Rams and the Raiders and David's star quality will definitely raise the sport's profile. It's all out there for him."
Alas, his message to Els was not nearly as optimistic. When told that the South African has expressed his determination to usurp him as the world No 1, Woods said: "Well, tell him to keep improving. Because I'm going to." That notion is truly scary as not only has Woods won his past seven starts on the American Tour, but in all strokeplay tournaments since the US Open last June his worst performance is a tie for second.
Furthermore, the 31-year-old American is the defending champion on this Emirates Course having beaten one E Els Esq in a play-off last year.
"He's so far ahead of me right now," admitted Els, who has recovered from the knee injury that has plagued his past 18 months. "But I've got my goals and if I stay focused on them I know I can be a factor again. I feel re-energised. You know, I feel like climbing the hill again."
With Woods blocking him, some are suggesting this week will be more like a mountain. Els, and others such as Paul Casey and Colin Montgomerie, will begin the long ascent today.
Latest in Sport
The muddy truth of the Christmas Truce game
Alexis Sanchez video: Turns out the Arsenal forward is brilliant at playing the piano too
Premier League: Chelsea vs West Ham match preview
Sir Alex Ferguson on Jose Mourinho: 'He's good looking, speaks five languages, wins everything - it's unfair'
The best sport selfies of 2014
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 5 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food