Woods in a world of his own

Tiger Woods moved on from Europe to Asia today and set his sights on total global domination of golf.

Tiger Woods moved on from Europe to Asia today and set his sights on total global domination of golf.

Winner of his last four US Tour events - that has not happened since Ben Hogan in 1953 - the 23-year-old world number one will be going for an incredible 10th victory of the season when he starts the defence of his Johnnie Walker Classic title in Taiwan on Thursday.

And the manner of his latest success, the American Express World Championship at Valderrama, is guaranteed to give all his rivals a headache as they try to figure out a way to match him. Or even to stay close to him.

Colin Montgomerie, of course, is among them and while he rightly celebrates clinching the European Order of Merit for a seventh successive year, he knows there can be no resting on his laurels. Not with Woods about.

The American's scintillating performance in Spain has given Montgomerie a further harsh reminder of how hard it is going to be to get what he most wants - a Major title and the world number one spot.

Woods said: "I don't know whether I can revolutionise golf but I think my emergence, with my ethnic background, has obviously been good for the game.

"It's gotten more minorities involved and we'll see what happens. I can only do my part by doing a number of clinics (as he did today before flying), by playing and hopefully playing well.

"It's great to see all the work I've been doing with Butch (Harmon) is starting to pay off and hopefully I'll go on improving next year.

"I've also learnt to handle my schedule better, to take more breaks. That way I'm able to get more energised, probably more invigorated and feel like I'm able to play at 110% with each and every shot.

"To play week after week is draining. I've done a pretty good job of spreading it out and making sure I'm well rested."

As well as rest, the word 'genius' comes to mind and Montgomerie offers his own added reason for Woods' success - and his own.

"I'm probably second to Tiger Woods in ambition. It's never dwindled and it's huge," said the 36-year-old Scot.

"I want to achieve more and more from this game and provided I can stay fit and healthy I feel I can. Next year is another challenge.

"I've had to keep improving to win each and every one of my Order of Merits and I'm learning all the time.

"I have fantastic self-belief and fantastic support behind the scenes. My home life is very secure and I have a fantastic caddie - our course management skills are possibly the best."

While Montgomerie set a new record this season by pocketing over £1.3million in Europe - plus £170,000 for winning the Cisco World Match Play at Wentworth - they are figures dwarfed by Woods.

So far this year he has earned just short of seven million US dollars (£4.2million) - more than Jack Nicklaus in his entire 37-year career on the US Tour.

But it is not so much the money - over 11 million US dollars since he turned professional in August 1996 - that is most staggering. It is his current strike rate.

Golf is a sport where even the stars accept that they lose far more than they win. But not Woods of late.

His record, starting with the Deutsche Bank Open in Hamburg in May, reads first, first (Memorial), third (US Open), first (Western Open), seventh (Open), first (US PGA), 37th (Sprint International), first (NEC World Championship), first (Walt Disney Classic), first (Tour Championship), first (Amex World Championship).

That is eight wins in 11 tournaments and the one at Valderrama might just have been the best of the lot but for a triple-bogey eight at the penultimate hole - caused not through any fault of his own, but a controversial pin placing and maybe a gust of wind which resulted in his beautifully-struck nine-iron pitch rolling back into a lake.

Eight others in the elite 62-strong field failed to break 80 in the conditions, but Woods was heading for a 65 or even a 64 until he was cruelly knocked off course.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, also playing some magical golf a week after winning the Volvo Masters, was suddenly eyeing the £609,000 winner's cheque himself in front of his home fans. But he buckled with bogeys at the 16th and 18th holes, then the 18th again in the play-off.

The difference between winning and losing that play-off was almost £366,000. Wouldn't you buckle?

Jimenez, though, has proved himself a world-class performer this season - a season which will long be remembered.

Sergio Garcia arrived with a bang, Jose Maria Olazabal tearfully won a second Masters after fearing his career was over, Paul Lawrie came from nowhere (10 shots back actually) to capitalise on Jean Van de Velde's amazing last-hole collapse at the Open, and Europe - amid controversial scenes - lost the Ryder Cup.

Welshman David Park finished second and first in his first two European Tour starts, Nick Faldo's Ryder Cup run came to an end - and the slumps of Seve Ballesteros and Sandy Lyle went on.

So the European Tour goes into hibernation - until Thursday. It may not be 2000 yet, it may not be in Europe and the bulk of the field will not be European, but the Johnnie Walker Classic in Taiwan forms the first leg of the 2000 Order of Merit race. We live in strange times.

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
i100
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
News
i100
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
News
i100
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
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

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup