A year ago, general admission tickets to the Australian Masters sold out six weeks in advance as a result of Tiger Woods' commitment to play there. This year? Tickets can be purchased at the gate, the Sydney Morning Herald reports in Tuesday's editions.
"Tiger Woods will come to Melbourne next week, without the competitive aura or the pulling power of the man who created unprecedented crowd interest in last year's Australian Masters," Sam Lienert writes.
An IMG operative, David Rollo, VP director of golf IMG Australia, attributed the decline in interest not to his off-course controversies, but to the fact that last year was his first Australian appearance in 11 years.
"At that time, I guess there were people who thought he may not be here for another chance to see him,'' Rollo tells the newspaper. ''So from that point of view, there was no question last year was a unique set of circumstances.''
Woods is playing in the WGC-HSBC Champions this week in Shanghai.
-- John Strege