Tiger Woods sets sights on Turkish delight after Ryder Cup apology

Another Ryder Cup surprise arrived a week after the stunning scenes which surrounded Europe's win in Chicago, with confirmation that Tiger Woods personally apologised to the rookie players on the USA team for his performance.

Woods, who has been criticised in the past for his relatively poor Ryder Cup displays, claimed only half a point from four matches. Europe recovered from a 10–6 deficit at the start of play on Sunday to claim victory by a point.

Woods played in the final match of the singles session, where he conceded a putt on the 18th in order to halve with Francesco Molinari. Afterwards Woods said sorry to the debutants Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker and Jason Dufner.

"I had an opportunity to earn three points in team sessions and didn't do that," Woods said. "My point [in the singles] didn't matter when all was said and done. Steve Stricker and I were sent out to win points and we didn't do it. That was frustrating.

"It has been difficult, there is no doubt. We held a great lead and couldn't manage to win from a perfect position going into Sunday. That was tough. Some guys were pretty bombed out by what happened. We had guys out early on Sunday to get points and that didn't happen. It was then left to us at the back but it came down to the situation where my point didn't matter. It was a tough situation, no doubt."

The 36-year-old revealed he had been consumed by family matters immediately after the defeat.

"As soon as I got home, I had two sick kids to take care of," Woods said. "They were not at school, they had fevers, so I had to focus on them. Then I started to speak to friends and it started to sink in. That's when it got tough."

Woods disputed the notion, therefore, that a lack of team spirit undermined the USA cause. He also confirmed an ambition to captain the side at some stage.

"That's because you weren't in the team room, you weren't in the team," answered the world No2 to the claim of a shortage of collective care. "It has been the same since I first played, in 1997. That hasn't changed. We have always been a great team unit. No loss feels good, whether that is in a President's Cup or Ryder Cup.

"It would be a huge honour for me to be captain of a Ryder Cup team. Hopefully it will not happen in the near future because I would like to play on more teams but certainly one day when my career is slowing down or over it would be huge to be part of a Ryder Cup from the captaincy side of things."

Woods has three of the victorious European side for company in Turkey this week, during the inaugural Turkish Airlines World Golf Final. Lee Westwood and Justin Rose form part of the eight-man, medal matchplay field but it is the meeting of Woods and Rory McIlroy on Wednesday afternoon which is the most eagerly anticipated.

"It is exciting to be part of this conversation. Rory is only 23, he is going to be here for a very long time and he is just starting out in his career. I have been around for 16-17 years and still feel a part of this conversation, which is good," Woods added.

McIlroy is similarly enthusiastic, as the culmination of his highly successful year approaches. After Turkey he will focus on remaining at the summit of the European Tour's Race to Dubai standings.

"It is something to look forward to. Tiger Woods has been a hero of mine since I grew up," he said. "To play alongside him and compete with him is a dream come true. This will be our first real head-to-head. It should be fun and is a match I would really like to win."

McIlroy's decision on whether to represent Great Britain or Ireland when golf returns to the Olympics in four years' time has also triggered debate. The Northern Irishman did offer strong views, at least, on whether the format of Olympic golf should remain as proposed, as 72 holes of strokeplay.

"The Olympics are only every four years. It would seem sort of mundane if it was played that way," McIlroy said. "I definitely think there should be a team element, whether that is three scores counting from a team of four or whatever. I would like to see something different, for sure. I think a 72-hole strokeplay event wouldn't really do it justice."

Ewan Murray travelled to Antalya courtesy of Turkish Airlines, which is sponsoring the World Golf Final

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Ewan Murray in Antalya, for The Guardian on Monday 8th October 2012 20.23 Europe/London

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image: © Keith Allison