By Andrew Both
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (Reuters) – Tiger Woods has collected plenty of Green Jackets and Claret Jugs during his decorated career, but there is one shiny thing missing from his collection — an Olympic gold medal.
That is about the only big thing worth winning that Woods does not have, and something he would like to take care of at next year’s Tokyo Games.
“Would I like to play in the Olympics? Yes,” Woods said on Tuesday during a news conference at Bethpage Black ahead of this week’s PGA Championship.
“I’m sure I won’t get many more opportunities going forward at 43 years old to play in many Olympics.
“That would be a first for me and something I would certainly welcome if I was part of the team.”
Golf returned to the Olympics at Rio in 2016 after a century-long absence, but many players who qualified stayed away due to concerns about contracting the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
Woods was battling a career-threatening back injury at the time and did not qualify for the United States team. He is healthy again now after a 2017 spinal fusion.
Justin Rose won the men’s gold medal for Britain in Rio and while South Korean Park In-bee triumphed in the women’s event.
The 2020 Olympic golf will be played at the Kasumigaseki course in suburban Tokyo.
Each country is restricted to a maximum of four players, and there is no guarantee Woods will qualify, though based on current form he has an excellent chance.
“Getting there and making the team is going to be the tough part,” he said.
“I just know that if I play well in the big events like I did this year, things will take care of itself.”
Woods collected his fifth Green Jacket when he won the Masters in April, his 15th major title and first in more than a decade.
He also has won three Claret Jugs awarded to the British Open winner.
Woods will go for a fifth Wanamaker Trophy at this week’s PGA Championship and next month he will bid for a fourth U.S. Open trophy at Pebble Beach.
(Reporting by Andrew Both, editing by Ed Osmond)