NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell today announced Tiger Woods as the latest big name heading to Sydney in November to play the Australian Open to begin one of the greatest years ever for Australian golf.
Woods will join defending champion Geoff Ogilvy, Presidents Cup captains Greg Norman and Fred Couples, world number 13 Bubba Watson and world number 7 Dustin Johnson to contest the time-honoured Stonehaven Cup.
The Open will take place from 10-13 November at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney, immediately preceding the President’s Cup.
Mr O’Farrell said Sydney is synonymous with the Australian Open, hosting the inaugural championship in 1904, on 35 occasions overall and continuously since 2006.
“The Open’s tradition, heritage and history is reflected in its honour roll of some of world golf’s greatest players and all Australia’s leading golfers regard winning the Stonehaven Cup as a career highlight.
“Tiger Woods’ participation is great news for the Open and comes as a result of a lot of hard work to secure the coveted lead-in dates to the President’s Cup.”
Mr O’Farrell said strengthening major events like the Australian Open forms a key part of the NSW Government’s strategy to rebuild the NSW economy.
“We are focused on having the strongest and most compelling events calendar in the country and sport obviously plays a key role in that calendar.
“We have created Destination NSW as a new statutory authority to market and promote NSW as a tourism and major events destination.
“With Tiger in town the eyes of the world will again be on Australia’s global events city.
“We caught the Shark and now we have snared the Tiger to give him the chance to join the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Gene Sarazen, Greg Norman, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer and Peter Thomson on the Open’s honour roll,” he said.
Tiger Woods today confirmed he was very much looking forward to playing in the Australian Open in Sydney.
“I’m very excited to be competing in the Australian Open,” said Tiger Woods. “I haven’t played in the tournament since 1996, and I’m anxious to return. I have a great affinity for playing golf in Australia and I’m looking forward to competing against an outstanding field at The Lakes in Sydney.”
Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said this announcement is another important part of the strategy to build the Open as a pre-eminent event on the burgeoning OneAsia tour.
“OneAsia continues to grow each year with the 2011 schedule involving tournaments in China, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia – including the Australian Open.
“OneAsia is an extremely important development for Australian golf and additionally it helps our strategic partnership with Destination NSW to grow the Australian Open and it aligns particularly well with NSW’s key trade and tourism markets,” Mr Pitt said.
Golf Australia is delighted with the progression of the Australian Open during its partnership with the NSW Government and is very excited about how the 2011 Australian Open is shaping up.
“There is no doubt whatsoever, it will be one of the best fields ever assembled for an Australian Open Championship and there are still major player announcements to be made over the coming weeks,” Mr Pitt said.
CEO of the PGA of Australia and the PGA Tour of Australasia, Brian Thorburn, is looking forward to the biggest year in Australian golf and is sure that Tiger Woods will add to the excitement and anticipation already held by Australian sports fans.
“This year is set to be the biggest for Australian golf in recent times; we have stellar fields for the Australian Open and the PGA Championship and the world’s best playing the Presidents Cup. It’s wonderful to be able to welcome Tiger to play in the Australian Open, he is always a crowd pleaser and is sure to bring thousands of golf lovers out to The Lakes in early November.”
The 2011 Australian Open will again be broadcast on Network Ten for all four days of the championship.
Tickets for the Australian Open can be purchased from the 5th August through: www.ticketek.com.au or by phoning 132 849.
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