Tiger returns to Thailand for first time in 10 years

Tiger Woods will play in a one-day skins tournament in Thailand

next month, returning to his mother’s home country for the first

time in 10 years.

Organizers announced Thursday that Woods will play in the Nov. 8

event that is part of celebrations to mark King Bhumibol

Adulyadej’s 60th year on the Thai throne.

It will be staged at the Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi,

a seaside province southeast of Bangkok, and comes the day after

the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai.

Paul Casey of England, Camilo Villegas of Colombia and

Thailand’s top player, Thongchai Jaidee, will also compete for the

total prize money of $300,000.

A 14-time major winner, Woods is without a tournament victory

this year after being out for nearly four months in the wake of the

infidelity scandal that ended his marriage and marred his

image.

Woods, an American whose mother is Thai, last played in Thailand

in 2000, winning the Johnnie Walker Classic. He also won the

inaugural event in 1998.

Woods made his Thai debut in winning the 1997 Asian Honda

Classic, receiving a $480,000 appearance fee and being met with

”Tigermania” from large crowds following him. He also received a

royal decoration and was feted by the prime minister.

”Thailand has treated us very well,” Woods said at the time.

”I don’t know why but I feel like I’m home. I hope I will be back

soon.”

Woods went on to win his first major that year at the Masters,

his first of four and setting a tournament record by finishing at

18 under. That deepened the admiration for the then 21-year-old

player among Thai golfers, such as Suntorn Jarumon.

”Americans like to say he’s American. Blacks like to say he is

black. But Thais are proud of him as an Asian, and he is definitely

Thai,” Suntorn said then. ”As long as he doesn’t have woman

problems or money problems, he should be around for a long time to

come.”