Golfer Cheyenne Woods will compete in the 2013 Australian Women's Open at Royal Canberra. Photo: Melissa Adams
''Uncle Tiger'' has reached world golf's peak, but for Cheyenne Woods hitting balls off Mount Ainslie formed part of her preparation for this week's Australian Open at Royal Canberra.
Peppering the suburbs of Reid and Campbell is worlds away from the feats of her uber-famous uncle, as is her modest world No.455 ranking.
This week, the 22-year-old wants to prove she's more than just ''Tiger Woods' niece''. Having turned professional in 2012, Woods is one of many marquee attractions at the $US1.2 million ($1.16 million) women's tournament, starting on Thursday. The first stop on this year's LPGA Tour, nine of the world's top-20 golfers have converged to help Canberra celebrate its 100th birthday. World No.1 Yani Tseng, Australia's Karrie Webb and defending champion Jessica Korda, daughter of former Australian Open tennis winner Petr, headline one of the event's strongest-ever fields.
While the players are here to help our city blow out its candles, Webb is hopeful the event won't be a Royal Canberra one-off.
''I think anywhere we have good following, good support and playing on a course the quality of this, we'd love to do that,'' she said. ''That Canberra wanted us to be part of their centenary celebrations is very special. I feel if the tournament goes off well the ACT will want us to be back. This year and last year with the LPGA sanctioning the event, it's brought a greater excitement and field here, and that's what Australian golf needs. Because we've been playing the tournament at such high-quality venues, the selling point for us Aussies to the overseas girls is, 'you've got to come, you have to play these golf courses'.''
The Australian Open is just one of many high-profile events in Canberra in its centenary year. Last week a capacity Manuka Oval crowd watched Australia beat the West Indies in the city's first one-day cricket international. Canberra Stadium will also host a rugby league Test between Australia and New Zealand in April.