Villegas not bothered by Tiger’s presence


MIAMI: Colombian Camilo Villegas (pic) refuses to be distracted as the golfing world prepares for Tiger Woods’s first strokeplay appearance in nine months at this week’s WGC-CA Champion­ship.

One of the game’s best players, Villegas has his own ambitions to concentrate on and is eager to build on a spectacular 2008 PGA Tour campaign that included victories in the last two playoff events.

“Tiger’s the number one player in the world and obviously very talented,” world number 10 Villegas told reporters at the Doral Golf Resort on Tuesday.

“But we can’t control what he does. We have just got to go out there, play some good golf, set our own goals and try to accomplish them.”

World number one Woods, a six-time winner of the WGC-CA Championship, will be competing in his second PGA Tour event in three weeks since returning from reconstructive knee surgery.

He has not played in a strokeplay tournament since his victory at the US Open in June but Villegas believes anyone in this week’s elite field of 80 is capable of winning.

“It’s funny,” the 27-year-old Colombian said. “I was on the phone this week doing a radio interview from Colombia and the first question was: ‘Camilo, you are finally playing against Tiger again.’

“I said: ‘Guys, I believe it’s like 80 players in the field.’ Again, we just have to take care of what we do, set our goals and accomplish them.”

Villegas signalled he is likely to be a PGA Tour force for many seasons to come by winning the lucrative BMW Championship and Tour Championship to wrap up the 2008 FedExCup series.

Although delighted to be regarded as a poster child on the US circuit, he is much more concerned with embellishing his pedigree as a player.

“Great,” he said. “I’m going to be known by more people and I’m going to be on more magazines, this and that.

“Does it really matter from a golf standpoint? Does it really matter on how I perform on the golf course? I don’t really think it does.

“I can only focus on myself,” Villegas added. “Yeah, 2008 was a great year. I accomplished a lot of my goals and finishing the way I finished was very gratifying.

“But at the same time, it gives me one more reason to work hard, to keep improving, keep challenging myself and not only keep accomplishing goals but hopefully my dreams.” — Reuters

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