KUALA LUMPUR – Tiger Woods has found himself somewhat overshadowed by Rory McIlroy’s glittering rise to the top of world golf, but Woods’ Ryder Cup team mate Jason Dufner says the 14-times major winner has not lost any of his lustre.
While McIlroy is in China this week to compete in the BMW Masters in a stellar field of major winners and former world number ones, Woods is competing in the CIMB Classic in Malaysia where he is one of only eight players from the top-50 competing at the $6,1 million event.
While the quality of the 48-man field lacks the depth of the BMW Masters in Shanghai, Dufner said the appearance of Woods was a massive boost for the tournament, which will become part of the PGA Tour’s Fedex Cup schedule in 2013.
“I think it’s a great thing for this event and for the country of Malaysia to have a player of Tiger’s calibre come and fit this event into his schedule,” Dufner told reporters yesterday.
“As players we appreciate it because it makes the field and the event attract a little more media. You get more spectators out here. He tends to pull in spectators. A lot of people want to see him play some golf.
“There is no doubt about it, when Tiger is in the field it just makes the event better overall.”
The 48-man field at the Mines Resort in Kuala Lumpur also features the top 10 players from the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit plus two Malaysia qualifiers.
The “Woods factor” was evident yesterday as hundreds of fans flocked to the 18th green to see Woods complete the tournament’s pro-am with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, while most other players were spectator-free. -Reuters