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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
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

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform