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Tiger Woods says he'll know when to quit

Tiger Woods said on Wednesday he would rather quit golf than become mediocre and that he would know when to call it a day.

The world number one has enjoyed an outstanding run of recent form, winning seven tournaments in succession worldwide before finishing two shots behind winner Geoff Ogilvy at Monday’s WGC-CA Championship in Miami.

Although retirement was not on the horizon for Woods, he told Reuters in an interview he had worked out his exit plan.

“For me it is very simple, it is when my best isn’t good enough any more,” said the 32-year-old. “I could not live with myself going out and practising and preparing as hard as I do and knowing that if I go out and play my best someone is just going to beat me.

“But that happens, your skills diminish, guys get better, they are more athletic. You have your time in the sun, there is nothing wrong in walking away from it.

“I have accomplished so much in the sport already and hopefully I can continue to do that for as long as I possibly can but when that time comes, well, every athlete knows when that happens,” added the 13-times major winner.

Woods, who is chasing Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major triumphs, said he would find it tough to carry on competing when he was not at his best.

“I am trying to prolong it, that early exit,” he said. “One of the great things about our sport is you can play as long as you want.

“But do you want to play in mediocrity? That is the thing that I would have a hard time with.”

Woods said he was a long way yet from reaching that stage.

“I am 32 and I feel like I am just entering my prime,” said the American. “Every sport is slightly different.

“I think MJ (Michael Jordan) would probably say his best years (in the NBA) were his early 30s whereas most (NFL) running backs would probably say it is their mid-to-late 20s.

“In our sport your best years are generally in your 30s, some guys are able to sustain that into their early 40s.”

Woods said he was still hurting after failing to win on Monday.

“Losing is never fun,” he said. “(But) there were some nice positives that came from it…yes, there were some three putts, there were some mistakes, and yet I was only two shots back.

“I feel I should have won the tournament. But I didn’t. That is how close the gap is, you can’t make many mistakes against that kind of field.”

His purple patch has coincided with disappointing spells of form for two of his closest rivals, countryman Phil Mickelson and South African Ernie Els, but Woods said a challenger could emerge from anywhere on the PGA Tour.

“Everyone is pushing. Our tour is getting so deep that anyone can win at any time, it is only going to get deeper,” he said during an appearance at Gillette’s ‘Search for the Next Phenom” sporting talent contest.

“It is deeper now than when I came out in 1996 and it is going to be deeper still.”

 

March 26, 2008




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