Tiger keen to gain ground in Abu Dhabi
TIGER WOODS, outside the world's top 50 early last month, will be ranked close to the top 10 if he wins in Abu Dhabi this week.
And it is even possible that come The Masters in April he will have the chance to regain the number one spot.
With an appearance fee reported to be well into seven figures, Woods has chosen the Middle East for his first tournament of the year rather than the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
That is the course near San Diego where he has not just won that event five times, but also landed the last of his 14 majors at the 2008 US Open.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is also his first tournament since he ended more than two years without a victory at the Chevron World Challenge last month.
That was in a field of only 18, but there were still enough points on offer to take Woods from 52nd to 21st.
He has slipped back to 25th during a six-week break, but, because of the presence this week of Europe's world top four, more points are up for grabs.
Indeed, it is the second-best field for a European Tour event outside majors and world championships since the rankings began in 1986. Woods will be making his debut in the tournament, but is a two-time winner of the Dubai Desert Classic.
Last year, though, he finished "only" 20th, a closing 75 leaving him seven behind winner Alvaro Quiros, and was fined for spitting.