World Number One Tiger Woods joins two fellow US Open Champions, Michael Campbell and Geoff Ogilvy, in challenging for the JBWere Masters title at the stunning Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia.
It will be Woods’ first competitive start in an individual stroke-play event in Australia since the JBWere Masters in 1997, when he finished tied eighth. He was also part of the United States team comprehensively beaten in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, also in the State of Victoria, in 1998.
Woods, who finished tied sixth at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai at the weekend, has no first hand experience of Kingston Heath, but knows from word of mouth that he is tackling one the most challenging and historic courses along Melbourne’s famed sand belt.
The 15-time Major Champion commented: “I don’t know a lot about the golf course, other than the guys have generally said it’s either one or two on their list of venues [to play] in Melbourne.
“Just like anybody else, I’m looking forward to getting down there for the first time and taking a look at it, and seeing how it figures and how I figure out how to play the golf course. But all of the courses that I’ve seen down there in Melbourne, I’ve always loved the bunkering, some of the best bunkering in the world. From what the guys have said so far to me, Kingston Heath is no different.”
Campbell, the US Open Champion in 2005 and winner of this event in 2000, hopes that a return to Australian soil, where he won the 2001 Heineken Classic, can spark a return to the sort of form which made him one of the world’s leading players.
Ogilvy, meanwhile, who succeeded Campbell as US Open Champion in 2006, makes a popular appearance on home turf with the twin aims of trying to win the JBWere Masters title and improve his Race to Dubai Rankings heading into the final segment of that marathon 51-tournament journey, the Dubai World Championship presented by: DP World at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Ogilvy is currently sixth following his tied tenth finish in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, but with AUS$1.5million on offer to the field at Kingston Heath, the 32 year old Melbourne resident could still post a high finish in the inaugural Race to Dubai.
Australian Rod Pampling, one of four Australians in the top five last year, defends the title which he won at nearby Huntingdale Golf Club in Melbourne following a play-off with countryman, Marcus Fraser.
The JBWere Masters, co-sanctioned by The European Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia, has attracted a powerful field including a host of familiar faces on The European Tour in Richard Green, Peter O’Malley, Brett Rumford and Adam Scott.