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Tiger Woods chasing titles in Europe again

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Tiger Woods mania hit Europe again on Tuesday as the world number one arrived in Germany saying his spell at the top was far from over.

Woods will make his first European appearance of the season in the 5.3 million marks ($2.45 million) Tournament Players' championship at Gut Kaden, some 50 km outside Hamburg, starting on Thursday.

"The whole idea is to keep improving,~ he told a packed news conference. ~I have changed my game quite a bit over the years. My swing has changed, my body has changed and there are still some things I'm working on."

He also said he paid no attention to what was written and said about him by the media. "As my father always said to me, no matter what they say about you, good or bad, you're the one who's going to have to make those putts."

The American's opponents include Jesper Parnevik, play-off winner of the Byron Nelson classic at Irving, Texas, on Sunday where Woods finished joint fourth.

European number one Colin Montgomerie, Nick Price and Sergio Garcia also boost a field containing nine of the world's top 20.

"There are a lot of great players here," Woods said. "I have to put myself in a position to win, no matter who is in the field. I've got to have a great belief in my own abilities. I've always had that."

First place is worth 880,000 marks ($407,000).

Woods won the tournament last year when it was staged at St Leon-Rot in Bavaria and kept his promise to return.

"I haven't seen the course yet," he said. "I'll play a few holes in the shoot-out today (Tuesday) and play 18 holes tomorrow."

Tournament organisers, naturally delighted to have attracted Woods to their event, have made a sleek Italian sports car available to him.

"Having Tiger Woods is a great honour and we are aware it might not happen again," said tournament director Harald Hartmann. "Everybody else wants to have him and there are people ready to put incredible sums of money on the table."

Woods has a busy schedule away from the course. He wants to meet Boris Becker, a man he admires, and also plans to attend this week's Masters Series tennis tournament in Hamburg.

"I've got a friend, Todd Woodbridge, who's playing there and I'd like to go and check him out," he said.

Woods will also try a stunt shot from the roof of a building across one of the busiest streets in Hamburg.

"I've never played from one roof to another," he said. "I like the idea."

Woods, now the most ominous presence on any course in the world, had dropped to number three in the rankings when he made hia debut in Germany last year.

He has no intention of finishing anywhere but first. ~There's no point in showing up at a tournament if you don't feel you can win," he said.

"I don't know if some people like finishing second. I don't. It's not my personality. I guess that's just what drives me."


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