Woods riled by calls to boycott Augusta

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The Independent Online

Tiger Woods admitted that he was frustrated at being asked to boycott the US Masters next year in protest at Augusta National's refusal to allow women members.

A New York Times editorial earlier this week called on the world No 1 to take a stand, but the Masters champion, who tees off in the Dunlop Phoenix tournament here today, said he is being unfairly singled out.

"I am the only player they are asking to do this specifically," he said yesterday. "They are asking me to give up the opportunity to do something nobody has ever done in the history of the Masters, winning three straight years."

Woods continued: "Nobody has ever boycotted the Masters, so it is a little bit frustrating. Hopefully, they can get [the issue] resolved in the near future."

Last week, Augusta National's chairman, Hootie Johnson, again defended the club's men-only membership policy. Woods has repeatedly said he believes women should be allowed membership at Augusta, but the 26-year-old has chosen not get directly involved, pointing out that the argument boiled down to a "difference of opinion".

On the Dunlop Phoenix event, Woods conceded that he might have to play conservatively given the modifications made to the 6,917-yard, par-71 course. Fairway bunkers have been added on seven holes at the Phoenix, around 300 yards from the tees, minimising the advantage Woods enjoys with his driving. "The fairways are so narrow I'll probably only use the driver between four and seven times," he said.

Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and the defending champion, David Duval, will be looking to stop Woods, who offered them some hope when he conceded that things do not always go to plan, pointing to his third-round 81 at the Open. Asked if there was one shot Woods would take back this season, he joked: "My first shot in the third round of the British Open. I should have stayed in bed."