• PGA Tour

Woods credits good fortune for breaking $100m barrier

ESPN staff
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Tiger Woods has won many times in his career © PA Photos
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Tiger Woods insists luck has played a significant part in his progression to becoming the first golfer in history to earn $100 million in PGA Tour prize money.

Woods, a 14-time major champion, reached the landmark milestone after a solid finish at the recent Deutsche Bank Championship.

The American has been widely credited for bringing lucrative rewards to the sport - his popularity almost single-handedly driving increases in interest and corporate sponsorship around the turn of the millennium - but the player himself declined to take credit for the financial good fortune he, and a number of his contemporaries, have benefitted from.

"Well, it just means that I've come along at the right time," Woods said on Wednesday, when asked about the $100m milestone. "We've had purse increases. We've had a lot of things go our way.

"I've won some tournaments, yes, but as I said last week, Sam Snead won more tournaments than I did, and obviously he didn't make the money that I did, just because it was a different era.

"I happened to come along at the right time when TV was booming and our commissioner did some fantastic deals with TV, and our purses just leapt by a lot."

He added: "I think that all that said, I'm not opposed to it, put it that way."

Woods is hoping to win the $10m FedEx Cup playoffs this month, perhaps setting him on the path to a second $100m in prize money. "God, I hope so," he joked, when asked about such a possibility. "That would be nice. That would mean I would have won some more tournaments."

Woods is currently third in the overall standings for the FedEx Cup, but the nature of the competition means he will likely have to win one of the final two tournaments in order to claim the jackpot.

Although expressing a certain amount of criticism of the current competition format - which is heavily weighted in favour of wins later in the year - he is nevertheless hoping that he picks up a win this week at the BMW Championship.

"I'm just going to try and get a W [win] this week. That's the goal. That's why I'm here. That's why I entered," Woods said. "This is a different format than I've played the FedEx Cup. I didn't play last year. I wasn't even in the damned thing, so it's nice to be here and be able to contend in this thing.

"It's interesting, you can go and win the first three playoff events, finish second in the last one and not win it. So it's a different type of format, but it's what we have, and the whole idea is if the guys who are near the top five or just outside the top five win the last two events, you know you're going to win it, so the idea is to go out there and get Ws."

Woods will once again be partnered with Rory McIlroy for the opening two rounds of the tournament. McIlroy is leading the current FedEx Cup standings after his win at the Deutsche Bank, and is widely seen as Woods' obvious rival for PGA Tour player of the year honours.

McIlroy has probably had the better year - winning a major and two significant PGA Tour events, compared to Woods' three regular season wins - but Woods still believes he should be in running for the yearly award.

"Well, it's always nice to get the respect of your peers," he said. "It's voted on by us. It's not voted on by anybody else. To have a year where the guys that you're trying to beat day in and day out think that you're the best player of the year, that's saying something.

"It's a great honour, and it's something that the guys who have won are very proud of, because as I said, it's voted on by us."

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