Woods eyes Honda Classic

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IOL pic feb13 golf tiger woods Reuters Tiger Woods has committed to play three tournaments in the next month ahead of the Masters.

Miami - Tiger Woods committed to play three tournaments in the next month ahead of the Masters, where the 14-time major champion will resume his pursuit of the all-time record 18 major titles won by Jack Nicklaus.

World No. 2 Woods announced on Tuesday on his website that he will play in next week's World Golf Championships Match Play Championship, the US PGA Honda Classic and next month's WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral.

Together with the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in late March, those are the key tuneups usually on Woods' schedule as he prepares for the first major event of each year, the Masters in early April at Augusta National.

Woods began his US PGA campaign with a victory last month at Torrey Pines, his 75th career triumph and record eighth on the course where he won his most recent major title at the 2008 US Open.

Next week's 64-player match-play event will feature most of the world's top 64 players in an $8.75-million showdown at Dove Mountain, Arizona, featuring World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Woods and English World No. 3 Luke Donald.

Woods won the WGC Match-Play event in 2003, 2004 and 2008. He lost to Nick Watney in last year's second round.

After a week off, Woods will play at the PGA event February 28-March 3 at PGA National Champion Course near Miami in a $6-million event where McIlroy is the defending champion and Woods is aiming to dethrone him.

Woods shared second in 2012, two strokes off the pace despite a final-round charge with an eight-under 62, the lowest final round of his career.

“I'm excited to be playing in the Honda Classic again,” Woods said. “I like the golf course and I came pretty close last year. It's part of a busy stretch for me and I want to continue playing well.”

McIlroy's victory in the event last year launched him into the World No. 1 ranking for the first time, a spot he lost and reclaimed and has now held for 26 weeks in a row.

Woods also committed to the $8.75-million WGC event at Doral on March 7-10. Woods has won the event six times - 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 - and won events at Doral in 2005 and 2006.

Last year at Doral, Woods withdrew with seven holes remaining in his final round because of a left leg injury. Woods felt pain in his left Achilles warming up and limped during the round, bowing out after his tee shot at the 12th hole.

But only two weeks later, Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and went on the win at Muirfield Village and Congressional as well in 2012. - Sapa-AFP

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