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Tiger Woods aiming for German victory

Tiger Woods came to the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in 1999 amid a four-month winless drought. He won the tournament to start a streak of four titles in seven events.

Last year, though, Woods let a third-round lead slip away here and was beaten by Lee Westwood of England.

Woods still collected about $1 million in appearance money and reportedly will get twice that this time.

"Like everything else in life, Tiger is getting more expensive,'' tournament director Harald Hartmann said.

Woods faced more than 100 reporters today, fielding and occasionally dodging questions for more than 40 minutes.

Some questions caught him off guard, such as when a reporter asked Woods if could say a few words in German.

"Uh, no, but I learned a few new beers,'' Woods said, joking.

Woods, who has played in 12 countries, said he felt no obligation to sell the game around the world as the sport's No. 1 player and biggest star.

"If it was obligatory, it wouldn't be fun. No, I just enjoy doing it,'' he said. "I thoroughly enjoy going abroad, you get to play against new players, seeing new places. I'm young. God willing, I can do it for a number of years.''

Woods will face the heart of Europe's probable Ryder Cup team when play starts Thursday at the $5.9 million event.

On Sunday, he fired a 63 at the Verizon Byron Nelson Classic, falling short of a comeback that would have given a fourth straight title. He admitted his game had collected some rust after a month layoff following his Masters victory in April.

"It took me two rounds to get into it from the first hole, where I felt I wasn't going to make a mental mistake,'' Woods said. "A physical one is OK, but this isn't a reaction sport -- you can think about what you're going to do. So yes, from the feel standpoint, I think I've got that back.''

But many questions posed weren't about golf.

They covered topics ranging from his female fans to whether he favors a ban on alcohol at the Ryder Cup.

Woods promised the United States would take the right spirit to the Ryder Cup, Sept. 28-30 at The Belfry in England.

At Brookline, Mass., two years ago, European players were angered by unruly spectators and what they saw as rah-rah patriotism during the U.S. victory.

Woods blamed the unruly crowds on alcohol consumption and said he would like to see it banned at The Belfry.

"You would like to see that, but obviously that's not going to happen because they can make a little bit on it,'' Woods said.

"It's great to have bipartisanship, but in the Ryder Cups I've been involved in, the morning matches are so much more subdued than the afternoon matches. You can see it escalate.''

Woods also spoke about his role in the growing interest of minorities in golf.

"Without a doubt. I know how it feels to be denied access and it doesn't feel good. I don't want any child to have to feel that," he said.





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