Woods eyes next year's Olympics

TOKYO • Tiger Woods is targeting the Tokyo Olympics next year, as he seeks to add another glittering chapter to his storied career.

Golf returned to the Summer Games in 2016 after a 112-year absence but Woods, who dominated the sport in the first decade of the 21st century, missed its return through injury.

"Making the Olympic team is a big goal," the 15-time Major winner told Reuters in an e-mail interview. "I don't see myself having too many opportunities other than next year.

"Four years from now, at the next Olympics, I'll be 48 years old. To be one of the top Americans at that age is going to be tough.

"I went to my first Olympic Games when it was in Los Angeles (1984). So now to have the opportunity to be a part of the Olympics is an important aspect for us (golfers) and the growth of the game.

"The game has become so global, and so reaching, that I think the Olympic Games is a great extension of that and I'd like to be a part of it."

He will get a taste of golf-crazy Japan when he competes in "The Challenge: Japan Skins" on Monday, before the Zozo Championship three days later.

He will take part in a high-stakes challenge at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba alongside Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and local favourite Hideki Matsuyama.

The extravaganza, which will in part be floodlit, is being televised globally by GolfTV and will be played under the "skins" format.

The format, designed to encourage aggressive play from start to finish, forces players to win a hole outright to take a skin, with tied holes resulting in a rollover of the skin to the next hole.

He added that he is just "excited and ecstatic" to compete against a new generation of golfers.

"The interesting thing about now is that when I was out, there was a whole generation of guys that I didn't really compete against," he said.

"Whether it was Jordan (Spieth), JT (Justin Thomas), Bryson (DeChambeau) or Patrick (Reed) these guys were just coming out and I missed that. Now they're established and I'm coming back into the game, so it's been fun to compete against those guys."

If he is to realise his Olympic dream, it seems likely the world No. 9 will be competing against players from this new generation to earn a spot at Tokyo.

To be part of the American team, he must be ranked in the top 15 in the world and be among the top four Americans on June 22 next year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2019, with the headline 'Woods eyes next year's Olympics'. Print Edition | Subscribe