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Williams & Woods look forward to NZ Open

The world's most recognisable sportsman, golfer Tiger Woods, will spend his Saturday night in New Zealand at the speedway, thanks to the drive and determination of his Kiwi caddie Steve Williams.

Williams, when he's not lugging the bag for the world No 1, is a devout petrolhead who loves nothing more than to race his V8 Mustang on the dirt track. And Woods, his boss and the world No 1 golfer, has been hanging out to see his caddie in the hotseat.

It will all fall into place on Saturday, January 12, the penultimate day of the Telstra Hyundai Open Woods is a raging favourite to win.

Williams is on the starter's list that night and the likeable bag lugger confirmed to the Sunday Star-Times that Woods would be joining him on the whirlwind helicopter ride from the course, at Paraparaumu Beach, to the speedway, at Te Marua, in Upper Hutt.

"I'm going to be there, for sure," said Williams, who warmed up with a start - and a win - at the same track last night.

And the boss?

"He's going to join me there. He knows it's my passion, and he's looking forward to it."

The world's highest paid and most recognisable athlete spending a night at Te Marua is probably incongruous, to say the least.

"He probably hasn't seen anything like this. He's probably watched some IndyCar racing, maybe some Nascar, but he ain't ever seen dirt track racing like we've got here," quipped Williams.

Williams also confirmed speculation that Woods' mum, Tilda, will be at Paraparaumu to watch her boy's New Zealand debut.

"She likes to see Tiger play reasonably often, and I'm quite excited she has chosen to come out here."

Williams believes Woods' father, Earl, will not be coming. He was committed to work for his son's golf foundation.

Williams also confirmed, before jetting off this week to rejoin Woods for Hawaii's Mercedes Championship, that the Paraparaumu course needed some drying weather.

"It's looking awesome, but it's had a lot of rain. If we were playing the tournament now it would be interesting. It's very lush and it will be interesting to see if they get any drying weather between now and the start. You'd want to hope so."

Williams said it was important the course hardened so it could play like a true links layout.

"Para is a links course, and its true test is when it plays like a links course, which is dry and hard. If you played there right now it would be slow and soft."


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