Woods wants work-out to prepare for Belfry

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A year ago, when the Ryder Cup was postponed until this September, it seemed the logical thing to slip it in after the American Express World Championship, where the teams would be expected to be playing anyway. A year, however, is a long time in form and world rankings, so only 17 of the 24 players who will be performing at The Belfry next week are appearing in this exclusive £3.5m tournament.

A year ago, when the Ryder Cup was postponed until this September, it seemed the logical thing to slip it in after the American Express World Championship, where the teams would be expected to be playing anyway. A year, however, is a long time in form and world rankings, so only 17 of the 24 players who will be performing at The Belfry next week are appearing in this exclusive £3.5m tournament.

The third of the year's World Golf Championships, the field for this event is taken strictly from the top 50 on the world rankings and the leading players from the order of merits of the main tours. So it is that Hal Sutton and Stewart Cink, of America, and Lee Westwood, Phillip Price, Pierre Fulke, Paul McGinley and Jesper Parnevik, from Europe, are making their final preparations for the Ryder Cup elsewhere.

For the others, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course that hosted three Irish Opens between 1993 and 1995 awaits. The venue will be more acceptable to the American contingent than Valderrama, which hosted the first two tournaments. Last year's event, scheduled for St Louis, was cancelled due to the terrorist attacks in the States.

Woods, naturally, starts as favourite but the World Matchplay and the NEC Invitational saw victories for outsiders Kevin Sutherland and Craig Parry, respectively. The WGC events have added vastly to Tiger's bank account – he has four victories in total – and it cannot be assumed this week is all about preparation for next week.

The world No 1 finds the appeal of the Ryder Cup lukewarm at best. "One of the things I have struggled with in my preparations for the Ryder Cup is that I don't have the time that I like to spend practising as well as working out.

"My work-out routine is something I take great pride in. Most nights you are going to functions until 11pm or midnight, and that's not how you prepare for a big event." As the only official functions are the welcome and the gala dinners, the rest of the evenings he is referring to must be the chore of eating with his team-mates.

As it is the start of a new tournament, Colin Montgomerie's back is, of course, suddenly fine again and the Scot will be at The Belfry, something he doubted last Sunday in Germany. "I am the fittest I have ever been in my career," Monty said. "I will be going to the Ryder Cup. There is no doubt in my mind that as of now I could play five matches." Five minutes later he may have changed his mind again.

* Spectators at the Ryder Cup are being reminded that cameras and mobile phones are among items they will be banned from taking into The Belfry. Audible pagers, ladders, picnic baskets, briefcases, portable TVs, push-chairs, bicycles and garden chairs are also prohibited. Anyone seen using a camera or phone is liable to be ejected, not just that day, but for the rest of the week.

Comments