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Tiger Woods: Tokyo Olympics 'a big goal'

Tiger Woods: Tokyo Olympics 'a big goal'
By Enis Koylu via Reuters

18/10/2019 at 08:15Updated 18/10/2019 at 10:59

Tiger Woods has set his sights on representing Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics, having missed out on the Rio games in 2016 due to injury.

Golf had been part of the Olympic programme in 1900 and 1904 but was subsequently not reinstated until the last edition, when the men's event was won by Justin Rose.

Woods says he saw the Olympics on television as a child and hopes to play a part in the event for himself.

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"I don't see myself having too many opportunities other than next year, Four years from now, at the next Olympic Games, 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 - because golf in my lifetime wasn't a part of the Olympics - is an important aspect for us and the growth of the game.

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Woods' career appeared to be on the wane after a series of injuries but he ended his 11-year wait for another major by winning the Masters earlier this year and has admitted that the speed of his comeback took him aback.

"To be able to have played the last couple of years after where I was... and to have two wins in my last two years, I definitely would not have foreseen that at the time, pre-surgery."

Woods will take part in a high-stakes challenge at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba alongside Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and 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 “push” of the skin to the next hole. Woods, who won the Masters earlier this year to end an 11-year wait for his 15th Major, says he is thrilled to be back at the top of the sport after injuries caused four back surgeries between 2014 and 2017.

“To be able to have played the last couple of years after where I was (with injury)... and to have two wins in my last two years – I definitely would not have foreseen that at the time, pre-surgery. So I’m just excited and ecstatic to be able to participate in golf at this level again. I missed it. I missed competing against these guys.

“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. 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, not to mention some of the older guys.”

Watch the first two hours of The Challenge: Japan Skins on Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Player at 5am on Monday

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