Calm Woods takes barbs in his stride

 Tiger Woods has often been fired up by adverse comments in the past but appeared to shrug off claims by Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano that he was beatable at this week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Woods, whose world ranking has slipped from number one to 20th, will face the 48th-ranked Spaniard in Wednesday’s opening round at Dove Mountain. “I feel exactly the same way as he does,” three-time Match Play champion Woods told reporters on Tuesday before setting off to practise. “I feel he’s beatable, too.”

Asked whether he was especially motivated by what other players said about him, he replied: “It used to quite a bit when I was younger but as I’ve matured I’ve gone beyond that. “It’s their prerogative, it’s their opinion. What matters is how I go out and play and how I’m progressing in my game. At the end of the day when I’m retired, I think I will have mastered a pretty good record.”

Fernandez-Castano, a five-time winner on the European Tour who has never played in the company of Woods, described the 14-time major champion as vulnerable on Monday.
“He’s probably not at his best, and you have to look at it that way,” the Spaniard said of the American who is working his way back to form after two years of struggle due to injuries and marital trouble.

Six years ago at the Match Play Championship, Woods was famously stung into action by comments made by Stephen Ames about the accuracy of his driving, going on to crush the Canadian 9&8 in the opening round.

Asked at the time whether he felt the comments were disrespectful, Woods replied: “It’s fair comment. I just don’t do it.” After further questioning, Woods described his reaction quite simply as: “9&8”.

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