Cheyenne Woods is hoping to steal the spotlight from her uncle Tiger Woods when she tees up in the South African Women’s Open at Southbroom Golf Club starting Friday.
The American received one of five sponsor’s exemptions to play in the 54-hole tournament co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET) and the Women’s Professional Golf Association.
Cheyenne, who is the daughter of Tiger’s older half-brother Earl Dennison Woods Jnr, is enjoying the experience of playing overseas and in different conditions in her rookie year on the Ladies European Tour. So far, she has played in four tournaments with a season-best tie for 12th at the recent Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
“It’s been a good experience learning the different courses and adjusting to the weather and jet lag and so on. I haven’t really travelled a lot in my life, so that’s been fun as well,” said Cheyenne, who was born in Phoenix, Arizona. “My game is pretty good. I had a good event in Morocco a few weeks, so I’m excited to get out here and play.”
The 22-year-old touched down in Durban on Monday after acting as a special correspondent for the television network Back9Network at The Masters in Augusta and of course, supporting the world No 1.
On visiting South Africa for the first time, she said: “I’ve always been interested in the country and its history. I’ve always wanted to come here so I’m excited to be here now. And at the Masters last week I spoke to Gary Player and he told me a lot about the country. He told me the beaches here are beautiful. And he spoke very highly of Southbroom golf course.
“It’s beautiful. It’s very green and I love it. I’m from Arizona in the desert, so I’m loving all the greenery here. I’ve also heard about the great views on this golf course.”
Cheyenne was introduced to the game as an infant and started playing at the age of five in her grandfather, Earl Dennison Woods’ garage. He was her first coach and guided her through junior golf as she started playing competitively. She was a top junior at the Xavier College Preparatory and won more than 30 amateur tournaments before attending Wake Forest University.
By the time she sunk her last putt for the Demon Deacons Woods had finished more tournaments under-par than any other player in school history, was a two-time All American and romped to victory at the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship: an achievement she rates as the greatest of her career along with qualifying for the US Women’s Open. After turning professional in May 2012, she claimed her maiden pro victory last August at the SunCoast Ladies Series at the LPGA International in Florida.
Now, in her first year on the Ladies European Tour, she is poised to receive further international recognition and has the chance to become a major star of the women’s golf scene just like her uncle Tiger did in the men's arena.