Tiger Woods has been beaten at his own game – by a couple of kids.
Surrounded by a giant Ferris wheel and a life-sized dinosaur in the New York’s Toys ‘R’ Us store, the world’s No.1 golfer proved no match for a couple of seven and ten-year-old experts of the video game which carries his name.
Woods didn't seem to mind his latest defeats at the hands of Donnie Jerrina and Scottie Marsh, who both suffer from life-threatening diseases, on a giant video screen in the three-level shop near Times Square.
Woods was promoting the release of a video game that bears his name and likeness (‘Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002’). While Woods was being introduced to the crowd he stood behind the boys - his hands resting on their shoulders.
As his numerous golf accomplishments were being read out, pint-sized Donnie turned his head back to look up at Tiger and said: "Wow!"
Later, however, it was Tiger’s turn to stare opened mouthed as his tiny challengers beat him at his own game.
Using the video courses of the TPC at Sawgrass and Pebble Beach, the children - playing as Tiger - beat the real guy as Woods took on the controls of a computer-simulated Mark O’Meara.
"I don't play me because it's too weird," said Woods. "I get too weirded out. I usually like playing as Mark so I can be old and grey."
Looking relaxed and casual wearing blue jeans and black leather jacket with gold highlights in his hair, Tiger also recorded an interview for the US Today programme and MTV.
Woods, hopes he's found his golf form after a slow start to 2002. He hasn't won since the NEC last August and hadn't been in contention until Doral, where he lost to Els at the final hole on Sunday.
"It's one of those gradual things where it takes a little time to put the pieces back together," Woods said. "I feel very pleased at the progress I'm making in my game. It's taken a little while to have those things come together, especially under the intense heat of competition."
"You need to be able to hit shots you've been working on and hit them down the stretch in the tournament. Some of the shots I hit, like on 18 on Sunday, for example. I hit a wonderful drive off the tee and then hit just a little 7-iron, held it back up against the wind. That's a shot that takes the right technique."
"It was neat to come from behind and get that adrenaline rush going," he said. "I was feeling pretty excited when I got the lead down to three, but Ernie wasn't going to be denied this time. I like chasing like that and getting the adrenaline going, but give me a big lead any time."
Woods' next chance to end his winless mini-drought will come at the Bay Hill Invitational on March 14. From there, he'll play in The Players Championship and then wait until he defends his US Masters title on April 11 at Augusta National.