MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Tiger Woods' first scheduled appearance in Australia since 1998 is already paying dividends for Australian Masters organizers.
Tournament officials said Friday that premium grandstand seating on the 18th hole had sold out for every day of the Nov. 12-15 tournament at Kingston Heath.
All daily passes have been purchased for Friday's second round, and less than 10 percent of daily passes for Sunday's fourth round remain to be sold. Organizers have placed a limit of 20,000 spectators per day on the course due to ensure high security.
The Victorian state government, which is contributing to Woods' reported $3 million appearance fee, welcomed the news of the ticket surge.
"Melbourne is the only place fans will see the world's greatest golfer compete in Australia for some time so I'm not surprised at the unprecedented level of interest," state Premier John Brumby said. "Thousands of tickets have been sold to interstate and overseas tourists who will come to Melbourne helping to boost tourism and securing jobs for Victorians."
It will be Woods' fourth tournament appearance Down Under and first since the 1998 Presidents Cup, when the U.S. lost to the International team at Royal Melbourne.
His first visit was at the 1996 Australian Open on The Australian course in Sydney, where Woods finished tied for fifth, 12 strokes behind winner Greg Norman. He played in the 1997 Australian Masters at Hungtingdale in Melbourne, where he finished tied for eighth in the event, seven shots behind winner Peter Lonard of Australia.