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Tiger Woods to take 3 week break

Tiger Woods is looking forward to a three-week break before returning to tournament golf in fired-up mood at the WGC-American Express Championship in Ireland next month.

The world No. 1, whose bid for a unique grand slam of all four majors in the same year was derailed at last month's British Open, has played three events in a row on the U.S. PGA Tour and now needs a rest.

"I'm taking some time off," said the reigning U.S. Masters and U.S. Open champion after finishing fourth in the WGC-NEC Invitational at Sahalee Country Club at the weekend.

"I've worked pretty hard these last three weeks. Actually the last four weeks, getting ready for at least three weeks. I've played golf just about every day.

"It's time to put the clubs up for a little bit, rest and recoup, and then fire back up again."

The 26-year-old has always been meticulous in preparing his playing schedule for each year, generally competing in no more than 23 tournaments with the focus on a well-paced build-up to the four majors.

This season he has already played in 17 events with just four more lined up -- the NEC Invitational, the Ryder Cup at The Belfry in England the following week, the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan and the year-ending World Challenge, which he hosts in California.

He was won five times this year - at the Bay Hill Invitational, the U.S. Masters, the European Tour's Deutsche Bank - SAP Open, the U.S. Open and the Buick Open two weeks ago.

Victory at the Buick was a timely confidence boost for the very next week when he attempted to become the first player to complete the so-called American Slam of the three U.S. majors by winning the U.S. PGA championship at Hazeltine.

But, despite a closing round of five-under-par 67 and birdies at each of the last four holes, Woods had to settle for second place -- one stroke behind surprise winner Rich Beem.

"I've only won one tournament, but that's not bad either," he said of his last three U.S. Tour starts.

"Anytime you can win one and put yourself in contention to win others, you're doing all right."

Woods, who was chasing a fourth consecutive victory in the NEC Invitational on Sunday, finished five strokes adrift of winner Craig Parry of Australia and was disappointed not to have done better than a three-under-par 68 on the last day.

"I didn't shoot the good number going out I needed to shoot," he said. "I wanted to get two- or three- or four-under par on the front nine and I wasn't able to do it.

"I played solid all day, hit a lot of good shots but just didn't make enough birdies I think early in the round to keep pace with Paza [Parry].

"I felt like I was putting really well and I needed to hit inside 15 feet on every hole. If I did that, I knew I was going to make my share of putts.

"But I didn't really do a good job of that. I fanned a couple of shots, put them on the green, but it wasn't close enough."

Woods will now be hoping that his three-week break will help rejuvenate his form with two big events still to come before the end of the year -- next month's NEC Invitational at Mount Juliet and the 34th Ryder Cup at The Belfry.

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