Sports

Showing at Hero World Challenge has been a springboard for following year for Tiger Woods

V Krishnaswamy Nassau | Updated on December 02, 2019 Published on December 02, 2019

Tiger Woods with Pawan Munjal Of Hero Motocorp

The last four starts at the annual Hero World Challenge have seen Tiger Woods in a different hue each time.

From a comeback in 2016 that was soon aborted early in 2017, it became a proper comeback in 2017 that led a super run in 2018 and now in 2019, Woods stands at a position that propel him back to the very top, a place that he once owned.

Speaking on the eve of the 21st edition of the event, which since 2014 has been sponsored by Hero MotoCorp, Woods said, “Interestingly, when I have done well here it has acted like a springboard to my following season. Usually I have started on the west coast at Torey Pines. Successes at this event have kind of mirrored what I have done at Torey on west coast. This event really has been a kind of a springboard for me. Unfortunately, ‘16 wasn’t very good, I built on ‘17 and then ‘18 and now ’19. Its incredible what it was, when you look back, and what I went through. And here I am now in front of you, as the Masters champion.”

Woods, who is also a Brand Ambassador for Hero since 2014, has also expressed great fondness for Pawan Munjal, the Chairman of the company, and thanked him for backing him at that time.

Speaking of going back to Masters as champion once again, he said, “It is never a bad thing as it has been incredible. I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I first won in '97. To be able to sit there and listen to the jokes and the needling I received. And the needling I had to give back to Sam (Snead) and Byron (Nelson) and Gene Sarazen, all those guys.

"That was an incredible experience for me and now to have been part of it for so long in different ways. I have struggled physically and hadn't played the Masters and been able to be champion five times.

"Just to be part of that club. It's a pretty exclusive club and you have to earn your way into it. And there is nothing better than that dinner. It is one of the hardest dinners you have to get into."

He also admitted that he does look at getting to 18 Majors, a target he had in front of him in 2008 when he got to 14 at US Open. Then injuries, personal crisis, surgeries et al halted his progress. It was until April, 2019 that winning machine roared again. “It has taken Jack a lifetime to get there, until he was 46. I’m just proud of what I’ve done, to come back from where I came back from to win another major championship but also to do it in a different way. I’ve finally come from behind to win a major championship, I finally know that I can do that now. I had never done it; 14-1 is not a bad record but I had never done it this way (coming  from behind).”

He equalled Snead’s record this year, while winning Zozo Championship in Japan and now has 82 wins. Getting past Snead, getting closer to Nicklaus’ 18 Majors and getting an Olympic medal are the immediate goals.

“I went to see the Olympic Games with my Dad when it was close home in LA. I saw archery events. In 2016 I was injured and now even at No. 7 in the world I am not sure of a place.” He is the fifth best American and only a maximum of four – if that countries top four are in Top-15 of the world can play. “I have had some great friends who played and won medals at Olympics, so it will be cool to have one.”

Published on December 02, 2019
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