Woods: Briton Beckham is more global than me

Updated: 2007-08-09 07:29

TULSA, Oklahoma: Tiger Woods, despite being widely regarded as the world's best-known sports figure, believes England soccer player David Beckham probably has a higher global profile.

American Woods gave his opinion at Southern Hills Country Club on Tuesday after being voted the "ultimate sports star" in a survey conducted last month by ESPN television.

"It's pretty funny actually," the world No 1 and 12-times major winner told a news conference during preparation for his title defence at this week's PGA Championship.

"As far as world athletes, I don't see how Beckham didn't beat me. As far as global figures, he's probably more global than me.

"You know golf is not truly played all around the world. It is played in most places but not like soccer or football is.

"I think that whole 'Who's Now' was about us in America. If it had gone globally, it would have been probably different."

'Who's Now' was a daily series aired by ESPN whose viewers voted for the ultimate sports star based on both "on-field success and off-field buzz".

After 32 finalists squared off in a single-elimination bracket, Woods beat NBA player LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the accolade by earning 65.1 percent of the vote.

Woods, the greatest golfer since Jack Nicklaus, was also voted last month the most popular sports figure in the U.S. for the second successive year in a poll conducted by Harris Interactive.

Former England captain Beckham, one of the world's most marketable sports figures, signed a five-year deal earlier this year with US club Los Angeles Galaxy worth $32.5 million.

The 32-year-old midfielder is expected to earn an estimated $250 million with the Galaxy, financed heavily by endorsements, and has set his sights on taking US soccer to a new level.

The 89th PGA Championship starts on Thursday.

Agencies

(China Daily 08/09/2007 page23)