Woods to go for different type of drive
20 April 2006Â
World golf No. 1 Tiger Woods will have his first go in the "little more physical" sport of stock car racing on Monday in the Waikato town of Huntly.
Woods, who is taking a break from the golf circuit, has been lured to a celebrity event by his New Zealand caddie, Steve Williams, who is also the national Super Saloon Car champion.
Also taking part will be former All Black rugby captain Tana Umaga and V8 drivers Greg Murphy and Paul Radisich.
Woods said at a press conference in Auckland today that it would be the first time he had driven a stock car, but he was looking forward to the experience.
"I've done other things - I've thrown a baseball a few times and thrown a couple of coins here and there."
"This is a bit more physical."
The format would involve two teams of five - Umaga's team and Woods' team - with the cars doing 12 laps of the 7000-capacity Huntly Placemakers Speedway.
Asked if insurance was an issue, Woods quipped: "That's taken care of."
He expected to be bumped during racing, saying that was "part of the Deal".
But he also promised to give as good as he got.
"If they knock me off, I can knock them off," he said.
"The whole idea is to have fun."
Woods didn't think his participation in the race would cause too much of a surprise among his fellow golf professionals.
"A few guys out there on tour do race quite a bit," he said, citing as one example drag-racing compatriot and world No. 20 Kenny Perry.
Williams said the aim of the event was to raise the profile of speedway and it was being run on Monday to coincide with the V8 Supercar Championship round at Pukekohe this weekend.
He said Woods got to see some stock car racing when he was in New Zealand in 2002 to play in the New Zealand Open.
"He said that looks like a lot of fun and I said, ?Don't worry, one day I'll get you in one of those things?."
As for Woods' lack of time behind a stock car wheel, Williams said: "He's driven on the freeway in LA a lot, so he's had plenty of experience."
Money raised from the Valvoline Celebrity Classic will go the Steve Williams Foundation.
Established in 2000, the foundation provides funding for young sports people who cannot afford coaching and to help with sport-related tertiary education opportunities.
It has so far given $250,000 to young athletes.