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Tiger Woods to play Dubai Desert Classic

Tiger Woods said in a statement released by tournament promoters that he wants to win back the title he held in 2008. Tiger Woods has never finished lower than fifth since he started playing at the event in 2001.

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Tiger Woods hits a tee shot on the second hole during the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, in this July 16, file photo. Tiger Woods said in a statement released by tournament promoters that he wants to win back the Dubai Desert Classic title he held in 2008.

Shaun Best/Reuters/File

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Tiger Woods announced that he will play in next year's Dubai Desert Classic.

Woods said in a statement released by tournament promoters that he wants to win back the title he held in 2008. Woods added that the quality field would force him to play at his best. He was due to defend his title in Dubai last year but was sidelined by knee surgery.

Woods won the tournament in 2006 and 2008 and never finished lower than fifth since he started playing here in 2001.

"The level of competition has always been extremely high so I know I'll have to play my best golf if I'm going to regain my title," Woods said in a statement. "It's a great venue, the course is always in immaculate condition and the weather reminds me of back home in Florida."

The tournament, which is part of the European Tour circuit, takes place at Emirates Golf Course from Feb. 10-13.

Mohamed Juma Buamaim, whose company runs the event, said Woods' presence should give a boost to tourism in the city and to golf across the region.

"We are naturally delighted and proud that Tiger Woods has agreed to join us," Buamaim said. "Having the world's greatest golfer play in your event is something many tournament organizers dream of, so for us to be able to welcome him to the course for the sixth time in 10 years is a major boost for golf in the Middle East."

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