Chris Wood: Golfers don’t get same credit as UK tennis stars

Defending champion Chris Wood speaks to the media ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Defending champion Chris Wood speaks to the media ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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As the defending champion, Chris Wood is the latest player to find himself adorning a 40ft-high poster on the grandstand behind the 18th green at Wentworth for this week’s BMW PGA Championship.

But the Ryder Cup player feels the current generation of home-grown golf stars do not otherwise get the recognition they deserve.

Wood is one of 12 English players ranked in the world’s top 100, while Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell are second and 87th respectively and Scotland’s Russell Knox 34th.

In comparison, Britain has four tennis players – including world No 1 Andy Murray – ranked in the top 100 and 
Brydan Klein the next best at 211th.

“I feel like I’m part of a generation that’s coming through now,” Wood, 29, said yesterday

“There are sort of 10 of us now in my age group that have come through amateur golf together and come on to the European Tour and broken into the top 50 in the world; some of us playing Ryder Cup and things like that all at the same time.

“If it was tennis, it would be global news and golf really deserves a lot more credit.

“I know we’re working hard at promoting the game in different ways, but the standard of English golf is really as high as it’s ever been though.

“I buy a paper quite often and look at the back pages, the sport and when you read about players that are 100th in the world, but they are ranked number two in tennis in the UK and things like that, it is quite frustrating, because we’re working just as hard as they are.

“Golf is one of our biggest national games. Rory McIlroy’s British. He’s arguably the best player in the world and in other sports, number one, two and three players in the world take more limelight, but Rory is just a great ambassador.

“You can’t have a better ambassador for our game, and he deserves to be sort of flying the golf flag a lot more really,” added Wood

Asked about his reaction to the huge poster of himself, Wood felt it was a positive thing, saying: “It fills you with a lot of confidence.

“Every year you come back and there are the big pictures of the defending champion and you always think, ‘I deserve to be up there’, and now that’s the case. It gives you a bit of belief and deep down it’s where I feel I belong.”