Tiger Woods and many other great golfers set for 2011 Australian Open

If you don’t get out to watch the Australian Open this week, you never will.

You know there is a big golf tournament ahead when Australian newspapers dedicate more than one story to it per day. What is surprising about this week is the tournament is an Australian one, the Australian Open, with the best field of golfers competing in many, many years.

You could be forgiven for thinking it was just Tiger Woods playing at The Lakes in Sydney this week. While it is true most newspapers dedicated more than one story to the golf, a majority were concerning Woods. Most focused on his two years out-of-bounds since he last won a golf tournament, the Australian Masters. Some talked about the two huge pay-checks he’ll receive for playing alongside James Packer, Eddie McGuire and . while some talked of the bizarre comments by Woods’ former caddie Steve Williams a few days ago.

But very few spoke of the rest of the field. And what a field it is. This is the best set of golfers to play the Australian Open in many decades.

Eight of the world’s top-20 golfers will be at The Lakes this week; Dustin Johnson (4), Jason Day (7), Adam Scott (8), Matt Kuchar (11), Nick Watney (12), Bubba Watson (16), David Toms (19) and Hunter Mahan (20).

FedEx Cup Trophy champion Bill Haas is playing alongside Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley and John Senden. Hey, even Greg Norman and Fred Couples are teeing it up!

The Australian Open was once considered the world’s fifth major and the names of the greatest golfers of all time are etched into the side of the Stonehaven Cup. Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Gray Player and Peter Thomson have all won this event.

If Golf Australia, or IMG can keep stumping up Woods’ appearance fee, he will be back in Australia soon. But I can guarantee many of the great golfers ahead of him in the world golf rankings will not be. Watch it any way you can, we’re in for a great week of golf.

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