Woods to give back, play in Thai skins game
BANGKOK – Tiger Woods says he’s looking forward to giving something back to Thailand when he makes a quick visit to his mother’s home country for the first time in 10 years to play a one-day skins tournament next month.
The Nov. 8 event is part of celebrations marking King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 60th year on the Thai throne.
“The last time I played in Thailand was in 2000. I am really looking forward to coming back and hopefully win it all!” Woods said in a statement released Thursday by organizers.
The 14-time major winner has not won a tournament this year after stepping away from the game for nearly four months in the wake of an infidelity scandal that destroyed his image and led to the breakup of his marriage.
“The Thai people never fail to impress me with their warm and genuine hospitality. This is indeed a good opportunity to give something back to them,” Woods said.
Paul Casey of England, Camilo Villegas of Colombia and Thailand’s top player, Thongchai Jaidee, will also compete for total prize money of $300,000. All players have agreed to donate their winnings to charity projects overseen by Thailand’s king, organizers said.
Woods’ stay in Bangkok will last about 24 hours. He will fly into the Thai capital the night before the tournament after competing in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
He will make an early morning visit to pay respects to the ailing 82-year-old King Bhumibol, who has been lodged at a Bangkok hospital for more than a year, by signing a get well book at the hospital along with Thongchai, organizers said.
Woods will then meet Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva before proceeding to the Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, a seaside province southeast of Bangkok, for the event.
All golfers will wear pink golf shirts, a sign of respect for the king that symbolizes wishes for good health.
Woods is scheduled to leave Thailand later that night for Australia to compete in the Nov. 11-14 Australian Masters in Melbourne.
Woods first played in Thailand in 1997, when he won the Asian Honda Classic. He received a $480,000 appearance fee and was greeted by large crowds. He also received a royal decoration and was feted by the then prime minister.
An American whose mother is Thai, Woods last played in Thailand in 2000, winning the Johnnie Walker Classic. He also won the inaugural event in 1998.