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Tiger signs on for Sydney golf

SYDNEY, Australia, August 1 – Former world number one Tiger Woods will tee off in Sydney for the first time in 15 years after being confirmed Monday as a starter at the Australian Open in November.

The troubled 14-time major champion has not won since the 2009 Australian Masters in Melbourne and will be hoping The Lakes course, regarded as one of the best wet-weather courses in the region, can help turn around his fortunes.

“I’m very excited to be competing in the Australian Open,” Woods said in a statement.

“I haven’t played in the event since 1996 and I’m anxious to return.

“I have a great affinity for playing golf in Australia and I’m looking forward to competing against an outstanding field at The Lakes.”

Woods, who has slipped out of the world’s top 20 having not played since the US Masters in April due to injury, last teed-off in Sydney at the Australian Open as a rookie pro, finishing fifth.

The November 10-13 tournament will also feature fellow Americans Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, defending champion Geoff Ogilvy and two-time major runner-up Jason Day.

It will be played the week before the Presidents Cup between the United States and International teams in Melbourne, with captains Greg Norman and Fred Couples also competing in Sydney.

“Tiger’s presence in Australia’s most prestigious tournament will further enhance what is certain to be a huge summer of Australian golf,” said Australian PGA chief Brian Thorbur.

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“Tiger will be joined in Australia by the world’s best golfers and while we have already made plenty of player announcements, we still intend to make more.”

Woods will play his first competitive event in nearly three months next week at WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio — a course where he has won seven titles.

But it will be without his usual caddy after he fired Steve Williams, his bagman for the past 12 years and for all but one of his major victories.

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