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Tiger set to roar again in Shanghai

TIGER Woods says he will play the HSBC Champions in China the week before he heads to Melbourne for the Australian Masters.

The HSBC Champions is expected to become a World Golf Championship, and when it does, it will be the only WGC event that Woods has not won.

But it won't be his first appearance in Shanghai. He was runner-up in 2005 and 2006. Phil Mickelson won the event a year later.

Woods shut down his overseas travel in 2007 after the birth of his first child, and couldn't play last year as he recovered from knee surgery. He announced last week he would play in Australia for the first time since the Presidents Cup in 1998.

The trip Down Under comes with a US$3 million appearance fee, half of which comes from taxpayers in the state of Victoria.

Woods defended the appearance money.

"This is the only place that doesn't have appearance fees," Woods said of the US PGA Tour.

"Most of the guys get appearance fees to play around the world. I've played all around the world and I've thoroughly enjoyed going.

"Obviously, there's some controversy behind it, but I'm really looking forward to getting down there and competing."

"I've always wanted to get down there and play more in the Aussie sandbelt because that is my favorite area to play," Woods said. "I've always enjoyed it."

His appearance at the Australian Masters is certain to heighten interest in the event, but five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson has expressed concern about the impact on sponsorship for other tournaments.

"In my view it's going to do a lot of damage to our national Open, which comes two weeks after this one in Melbourne," Australian Thomson said last week.

"The Australian Open is our national championship, it is the most important event that we have.

"He won't be playing in that but that sucks up all the potential sponsorship."


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