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Woods to open against Jones

THE draw for this week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Arizona, was announced in Los Angeles on Friday, pairing Tiger Woods with Australian Brendan Jones in the opening round.

World No. 1 Woods, champion in 2003, 2004 and last year, is the top seed in his first PGA Tour event since winning the US Open at Torrey Pines eight months ago.

The 33-year-old American has been sidelined because of reconstructive knee surgery and only announced his hotly anticipated return to competitive golf on Thursday.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back," Woods said on Friday.

"Hopefully I can get into the flow of the round very quickly. It helps that it is match play and that each hole is basically an individual match. It pays to get off to a quick start with match play and hopefully that's what I can do. My practice schedule has been very positive and I felt this was the time to get back and play again."

Woods, a 14-time major champion who has piled up 65 titles on the PGA Tour, won last year's Match Play Championship by a record 8&7 margin over American Stewart Cink in the final.

However, he will have to contend with a different course this week with the venue switching from the Gallery Golf Club to the nearby Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

Spanish world No. 2 Sergio Garcia, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland and fourth-ranked Fijian Vijay Singh are the top seeds in the other three groups.

Garcia will launch his campaign against South African Charl Schwartzel while Singh takes on Dane Soren Kjeldsen in Wednesday's opening round.

Harrington, who won the final two majors of last season, starts out against American Pat Perez, who clinched his maiden PGA Tour title at last month's Bob Hope Classic.

Among the more intriguing first-round matches is Phil Mickelson against Angel Cabrera. The big Argentine won the US Open in 2007, when Mickelson missed the cut on the 10-shot rule when Cabrera birdied his final hole of the second round.

The opening World Golf Championships (WGC) event of 2009 is being held at Dove Mountain for the third year in a row.


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