Woods to play in Asia’s richest golf tournament


TOKYO, AFP

World number-one Tiger Woods will compete in the 200 million yen (US$1.67 million) Dunlop Phoenix men’s golf tournament in Miyazaki, southern Japan, organisers said Monday.

The November 21-24 tournament at the Phoenix Country Club course is the richest in Asia in terms of total prize money with Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros on the roster of its former winners.

Fellow American and defending champion David Duval and Spanish ace Sergio Garcia will also vye with Woods for the top purse of 40 million yen, the organisers said.

“I’m really excited about coming to Japan again, the Japanese fans are incredible, they really love their golf,” 26-year-old Woods said a via-satellite interview from California.

It will be his third tournament appearance in Japan and the first since he and Duval finished runners-up to the South African duo of Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in the World Cup in the Mount Fuji resort of Gotemba last November.

Woods also confirmed that he will play in the Buick Open next month.

Woods’ hopes of winning the Grand Slam ended at the British Open two weeks ago, when he shot an 81 in miserable conditions in the third round and finished tied for 28th.

The Buick Open, scheduled for Aug. 8-11, will be Woods’ first tournament since the British Open.

A week after the Buick Open, Woods will go for his third major victory of the year in the PGA Championship at Hazeltine in Minnesota.

Woods last played in the Buick Open two years ago, when it was held the week before the PGA Championship. He was coming off a victory in the British Open at St. Andrews, where he completed the career Grand Slam. He went on to win his third major that year at Valhalla.

“Warwick Hills is always in excellent condition, and I have really enjoyed playing the Buick Open over the years,” Woods said in a statement. “I look forward to returning to Grand Blanc where the spectators have been very supportive.”