European Tour

Tiger's transcontinental drive

Tiger Woods (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods (Getty Images)

Istanbul - World number one Tiger Woods brought Istanbul to a 20-minute standstill on Tuesday as he hit golf balls from one continent to another.

Special permission was needed for organisers of this week's Turkish Airlines Open to close three lanes of the six-lane Bosphorus Bridge that links Europe with Asia.

Woods appeared on the front of a number of Istanbul newspapers, with the news that the world's fourth longest suspension bridge would be closed from 14:00 to 14:28.

The bridge spans the Bosphorus River and measures 1 560 metres and 64 metres above the water.

Woods stood on a makeshift tee and hit a number of shots to the bemusement of a good many observers.

Some 180 000 vehicles cross the bridge every day, a large proportion just for the 'fun' of being able to drive from continent to continent.

A toll booth on the Asian side collects payment from those travelling from the European continent.

"To be the first golfer to do this was very cool," said Woods.

"I have really enjoyed my visit to Istanbul and to see the Bosphorus for the first time was a very enjoyable and memorable experience."

Woods also sounded a lot healthier as he could hardly talk following last Monday week's Match at Mission Hills against Rory McIlroy.

This week is his penultimate event of 2013 with his final tournament again the World Challenge he hosts annually at Sherwood Hills in suburban Los Angeles.

Ahmet Ali Agaoglu, President of the Turkish Golf Federation, said: "We are delighted Tiger took part in this historical event. The presence of arguably golf's greatest ever player in Turkey is wonderful for the profile of the game in the country."

Woods has previously hit golf balls from the helicopter pad of the Burg Al Arab hotel in Dubai.

Also he once hit golf balls off a mat from the balcony of his Heidelberg hotel room and into the Neckar River while competing in a European Tour event.

Woods will join US Open champion Justin Rose, along with current European leading money-earner Henrik Stenson of Sweden in the opening round of the $7m penultimate event of the Race to Dubai Final Series.

It will be Woods' first appearance this late in a European Tour season and, as the only non-European Tour member in the 78-player field, it could mean any money he earns affects the final make-up of the Race to Dubai.

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