Ochoa could join Woods Down Under

WORLD No.1 Lorena Ochoa could star at the ANZ Ladies Masters at Royal Pines in March. Tiger Woods John Daly

Australian golf fans could be treated to the world’s No.1 male and female players Down Under for the first time this summer.

Tiger Woods – the greatest show on earth – will headline next week’s Australian Masters at Kingston Heath in a blockbuster opening to the season.

And in what would be a first for Australian golf, Mexico’s two-time Major winner and world No.1 Lorena Ochoa could tee up in the ANZ Ladies Masters at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast in March, depending on the US LPGA’s schedule, due to be released on November 18.

Ladies Masters promoter Bob Tuohy said negotiations were ongoing, but it looked positive.

The presence of Woods and human headline John Daly, who’ll play the Australian Open at NSW (December 3-6) and the Australian PGA at Coolum (December 10-13), has softened news that Greg Norman, still a massive attraction in Australia, has withdrawn from the Open on medical advice following recent shoulder surgery.

If Woods wasn’t playing next week the loss of Norman, ranked No.1 in the world for 331 weeks at the height of his career, would have been a significant body blow for golf to absorb.

There hasn’t been such a buzz in Australian golf since Tigermania last hit our shores in 1998 when a young Woods went head-to-head with The Shark in the Presidents Cup at Huntingdale.

Woods has not won in three visits to Australia, but in the decade since he was last here he has advanced his collection of major titles to 14, second on the all-time list to Jack Nicklaus.

The colourful Daly’s propensity to do the spectacular and at times the completely unexpected – like smashing the camera of a spectator who “got in my face” – is also irresistible to many fans.

Daly’s presence last year gave golf a shot in the arm. His antics generated an estimated $3 million in media exposure.

He’s shed 40kg since undergoing lapband surgery and wants to get his golf game back in the headlines, rather than his drinking and poor behaviour.

For the Aussies, former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott, Stuart Appleby and Mathew Goggin are all confirmed to play the Open, Masters and PGA.

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