ANTALYA, Turkey — Tiger Woods feels “the rust is starting to come off” on the eve of his first event of the 2014 season, the Turkish Airlines Open.
The $7 million tournament at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal is the third leg of the European Tour’s Final Series, which culminates next week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Fresh off of a one-shot loss to Rory McIlroy at an exhibition in China last week, Woods has not played in a competitive event since the Tour Championship at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club in mid-September.
Woods skipped the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai last week, choosing to work on his game in private exhibitions in Asia.
“When I played against Rory, I was a little bit on the rusty side, because I really had not touched a club for a couple of weeks,” said Woods, responding to a question Wednesday about the state of his game. “But I’ve been playing in Singapore and doing some exhibitions there, as well as in Macau. So I’ve been playing a little golf. The rust is starting to come off a little bit.”
Woods had an unusual warmup Tuesday preceding his appearance at the Turkish Open by hitting numerous tee shots on one side of Istanbul’s six-lane Bosporus Bridge, which connects Europe and Asia across the Bosporus Strait.
After spending 20 minutes on the bridge hitting tee shots after police halted Istanbul’s notorious traffic, Woods said he was at times a bit terrified because the opposite side of the bridge remained open.
“The scary part was, just flew in from 12 hours, and hop off a plane and have to hit driver down the narrowest fairway I’ve ever seen,” Woods said in recalling the exhibition. “The wind was coming off the left a little bit, all theses cars were driving on the right, so if I lose any balls to the right, there’s an international incident.”
Woods spent the rest of the press conference confirming that he is not interested in joining the European Tour and that the issue involving Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, who said in a Golf.com commentary that Woods was “cavalier” with golf’s rules, is closed.
“I’ve said everything I’m going to say,” Woods said on the Chamblee matter.