Woods seeks her own path

Cheyenne Woods can handle the hype, pressure and expectation that comes with being related to one of the world's greatest golfers.

But after growing up as Tiger Woods' niece, the 22-year-old says it is time to break free from the former world No.1's shadow and ''make a name for myself''.

Still in her first year as a professional, Cheyenne will make her women's Australian Open debut when the tournament begins at Royal Canberra on February 14.

Most golfers can only dream of having a 14-time major winner as one of their mentors. For Cheyenne, Tiger is always keen to offer advice and has played an integral role in her rise from amateur to professional. But the Woods name carries expectation and pressure wherever she travels.

It is a status on which some would thrive, but Cheyenne has taught herself to block out the hype and focus on her game.

''He [Tiger] has been a huge influence; having someone that close as a family member and seeing him be so successful is really motivational,'' Cheyenne said. ''Growing up, the hardest thing was the pressure, the attention and the expectation that was on me because of the name.


''I've learned to deal with it … [but] I would love to make a name for myself. The more I'm out there and the more people get to know me, I think they'll identify me as Cheyenne Woods rather than Tiger Woods' niece.''

Unfazed by the attention and the Tiger talk, Cheyenne is on her own mission to rise to the top of women's golf. She arrived in Australia this week and started her first round at the Ladies Masters on the Gold Coast on Friday. She will play in the New Zealand Open next week before preparing to play in the capital.

Despite not being on the US LPGA tour after missing the cut at the first stage of qualifying school in December, Cheyenne was invited to play in Australia by sponsors. It is one of the bonuses of having a famous uncle.

And instead of playing in the US this year, she will chase victories in Europe to begin building her career.