Woods to tee off in Abu Dhabi

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TIGER Woods will begin his season next week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, the second consecutive year the 14-times major winner will start his campaign in the United Arab Emirates.

Woods finished tied third in the European Tour event last year, two shots behind winner Robert Rock of England with whom he shared the lead after 54 holes of play. World No 1 Rory McIlroy has also signed up to play in the $2.7 million event at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club which starts on 17 January. “I’m excited to compete again,” Woods said in a statement on his website. “Hopefully my good practice sessions will carry over.”

The world No 3 will then head back home to compete in the US PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open, which starts on 24 January.

The 37-year-old has a strong record at Torrey Pines, winning the event six times under the previous Buick Invitational name and also claiming the 2008 US Open at the San Diego venue. He missed last year’s event because of a schedule clash with the Abu Dhabi tournament.

“Obviously, I’ve had good success at Torrey Pines,” Woods said. “I practically grew up playing the South and North Courses. The fans have always been supportive, and I look forward to returning.”

Woods, who won three times last year to take him to 74 PGA Tour wins and second on the all-time list behind Sam Snead’s 82, did not commit to any other tournaments in Wednesday’s statement, apart from the four majors.