|Published:||Aug 01, 2011 3:22 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Aug 01, 2011 6:30 AM EDT|
SYDNEY (AP) - Tiger Woods will play at the Australian Open in November in his first trip back Down Under since his personal life unraveled just after a victory at Melbourne in 2009.
Golf Australia announced Monday that Woods would join a field for the Nov. 10-13 tournament at The Lakes in Sydney that already includes Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, defending champion Geoff Ogilvy and Presidents Cup captains Greg Norman and Fred Couples. The Presidents Cup will be held in Melbourne the following week.
The 14-time major champion has plummeted to No. 21 in the world - his lowest ranking since Jan. 26, 1997 - and has gone more than 20 months since his last win, at the 2009 Australian Masters in Melbourne, shortly before he was exposed for having multiple extramarital affairs that led to divorce.
Injuries to his left leg have kept Woods sidelined for 11 weeks, including two majors, but he has announced that he'll return this week at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Woods will be among the big names of golf competing at Australia in November, in and around the Presidents Cup in Melbourne. He hasn't played the Australian Open since he finished in fifth place 15 years ago.
"I haven't played in the tournament since 1996, and I'm anxious to return," Woods said in a statement released by Golf Australia. "I have a great affinity for playing golf in Australia and I'm looking forward to competing against an outstanding field."
Woods last appearance in Australia generated capacity crowds for the Australian Masters as well as high levels of security and intense media scrutiny. The PGA of Australia is expecting record crowds and TV audiences for its major events this year.
"Tiger's presence in Australia's most prestigious tournament will further enhance what is certain to be a huge summer of Australian golf," PGA of Australia chief executive Brian Thorburn said.