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Tiger Fever Makes Its Way From Thailand To Australia

By Associated Press

Even as Tiger Woods prepared for the Australian Masters his mind wandered down the road to the Masters in April.

“When you look at my physical aspects, I should always be a favorite to win (at Augusta), as should John Daly,” Woods said Tuesday at Huntingdale Golf Club, site of this week’s Australian Masters. “We both hit the ball long and we hit the ball very high.”

Tournament organizers expect galleries up to eight times as large as normal as interest in the 21-year-old sensation sweeps from Thailand, where he won by 10 strokes over the weekend, into Australia.

Woods, coming off a hectic week in his mother’s birth country, fought his way through swarming fans and a media onslaught as he began preparations for the Australian Masters.

“After what I had to go through last week, I’m not surprised by anything,” Woods said. “I can’t describe it, it was very tough. Thailand was 10 times tougher than here, you cannot believe how it was.”

Woods said the level of attention he has received has caused him to fear for his safety, and also his image.

“The hardest thing is that people kind of mob you, and at times that can be pretty dangerous,” he said. “People will have to learn that I can only be as obliging as they let me.

“If I’m being mobbed, I can’t sign a lot of autographs or shake a lot of hands. If the general public becomes more understanding, it will be a lot more enjoyable for both of us.”

Woods, who reportedly received about $225,000 to play in the Australian Masters, has won three times in 11 PGA Tour starts.

Wordcount: 281
Tags: golf

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