AFP: Former world number one Tiger Woods on Tuesday admitted his increasing interest in cricket which coincides with the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship here, saying it’s similiar to baseball which he loves.
The 36-year-old is here to feature in the January 26-29 Abu Dhabi Golf championship, which goes side by side to the second Test between Pakistan and England at Abu Dhabi Stadium from Wednesday.
“Baseball is huge in Japan and the US, but outside of that cricket is huge. So as I have travelled and I have played all around the world, I have started to watch more and more,” said Woods in his pre-tournament press conference.
Woods, who has modelled in an advertisement with Indian batting master Rahul Dravid, said meeting such people has also helped him understand the game.
“I have met some of the guys, that certainly helps, provides more interest in it. Because now you have personal interest in it, so that’s what makes a little bit more exciting,” said Woods in his pre-tournament press conference.
Woods said he does follow cricket a little. “I am a baseball guy. But have I followed cricket? I have, a little bit. From just what I saw in the news, its been -- I think it’s been like a batsmen’s paradise here,” said Woods of the Abu Dhabi Stadium pitch, known for helping batsmen.
“That’s all I know; what, three guys have gone for centuries or something like that, whatever it is. I don’t know. But as far as watching cricket, I don’t watch, absolutely. Especially, when I am travelling overseas. But my being from the USA, our passion is baseball, or football.”
Woods said in his childhood he played baseball -- similar in some ways to cricket. “Yeah, you know, because I grow up playing baseball. I was a pitcher myself and my dad was the catcher. My dad played in the negro leagues, professional ball. That type of game certainly has been in my blood.
“And then to travel around the world and see the passion that people have for cricket,” said Woods.
Some of the England cricketers would also like to watch golf, but being involved in the Test against Pakistan, they would only find time if they lose the match inside three days, as they did in the first Test in Dubai last week.
Still, former captains Michael Vaughan, Ian Botham and batsman Geoff Boycott -- all here as commentators -- will get an opportunity to visit the Golf club. Vaughan shares a marketing agent with Woods.