Tiger Woods says he won’t be joining the European Tour.
Woods had floated the possibility while in Turkey last month, especially now that the tour would count the Ryder Cup toward the minimum requirement of 13 events for membership. When asked about it Tuesday, Woods said, ”I’m not going to play the European Tour next year.”
Woods is starting next season at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Throw in the four majors and four World Golf Championships, and he would need only three more events to become a European Tour member.
”It’s a bit much for me still,” Woods said, adding that his focus is squarely on the record 18 majors won by Nicklaus.
Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald have won the money titles on the European Tour and PGA Tour in the past two years. Woods could have done that at least four times in the past decade if he had been a member.
”Certainly, I’ve had opportunities over the years, especially when it was at 11 events,” Woods said. ”I was very close a couple times and could have taken membership up and played it. But still … I enjoy playing around the world, and I still always will. But I am going to play this tour.”
When asked why he never bothered becoming a dual member, Woods said, ”It wasn’t important to me.”
”My main concern was winning major championships, and I’ve won 14 of them, and I’m very proud of that.”
Asked whether adding a few European events would have detracted from his preparation for the majors, Woods nodded.
He remains stuck on 14 majors, winning his last one in 2008 in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Woods has failed to win the past 14 majors he has played, the longest drought of his career. Next year’s rotation of majors include Merion for the U.S. Open, a course he has never seen, and Oak Hill for the PGA Championship, the only time Woods has played all four rounds at a PGA without breaking par.
Woods said winning a major makes it a great year, which in his mind means that four players had a great year: Bubba Watson (Masters), Webb Simpson (U.S. Open), Ernie Els (British Open) and McIlroy (PGA Championship).
”That’s something I haven’t done since `08, so it’s something I can do next year,” he said. ”I’ve won golf tournaments; I’ve had some really nice years, some really good years in there. But as I said, winning a major championship just takes it to a whole new level.”
That doesn’t make his year a total loss.
Woods played his most complete season since 2009, and the World Challenge that starts Thursday at Sherwood Country Club will be his 24th week of competition, which includes the Ryder Cup and an exhibition in Turkey.
The only stumble was at Doral, where he withdrew in the middle of the final round when his Achilles tendon flared up on him. He won in his next start, at Bay Hill, and then added wins at the Memorial and AT&T National.
”I’ve very excited because last year at this point in time I was still not quite where I wanted to be physically,” he said. ”I ended up having a little bit of a problem at Doral at the beginning of the year, but did the prudent thing in not playing at the end. This year has been fantastic in that regard. I’ve felt good. I’ve played a full schedule for the first time in a very long time, and just very pleased with what I’ve done overall with my game.”