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?
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
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

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London