November 01, 2010
That shot above was from last year's triumphant Tiger Down Under Tour, a.k.a. The Last Time We Thought Of Woods As Just A Golfer. Back then, Woods stormed his way around the continent, commanding (and justifying) seven-figure appearance fees and generally getting treated like a conquering hero.
This year? Not so much.
In a Tuesday report (it's news from the future!) the Sydney Morning Herald notes that demand for tickets is way, way down from last year, when Tiger won the Australian Masters. In 2009, the 20,000 general-admission tickets for each of the event's four days were sold out six weeks in advance. This year? Good seats will still be available as of game day.
Australian Masters officials said that familiarity, not scandal, is the reason for the reduced demand. Last year was Woods' first visit to Australia in 11 years. This year is his first visit in, uh, 12 months.
Still, Tiger is Tiger, and he'll draw plenty of attention even when he's tossing grass in the air to test the wind. He'll have plenty of company there, as Camilo Villegas, Sergio Garcia, Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby have all agreed to appear. It's not a star-studded field, but it's a solid one.
And if Woods should happen to get out and claim a lead? Let's just say that whole unsold-ticket problem will cease to be a problem pretty much immediately.