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Tiger Woods targets season earnings record

The end of the PGA Tour is in sight and so is another record for world number one Tiger Woods as he returns to action at the Funai Classic on Thursday.

With three events remaining on the Tour calendar, Woods needs to rake in a little under $1 million to eclipse Vijay Singh's single season earnings record of $10,905,166 set by the Fijian last year.

A seventh title to add to the U.S. Masters and British Open, triumphs at two of the three elite World Golf Championships (WGC) events and a Presidents Cup victory would provide a satisfying finish to a season that has seen Woods return to top form.

In 19 starts the 29-year-old American has banked $9.91 million and while finishing top of the money order holds no particular allure, winning tournaments does.

"When I had the record and the money title, it's very misleading," said Woods, at his last start the WGC American Express Invitational two weeks ago.

"It changes because obviously, the purses go up.

"I'd much rather keep having the highest total for wins every year."

A 47th career title may prove a challenge for Woods, however, against a superb late-season field that has attracted three of world's top four ranked players vying for a $4.4 million prize kitty at the World Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida.

Twice a winner of the event in 1996 and 1999, Woods will be joined in Orlando by world number two Singh and fourth ranked Retief Goosen of South Africa.

"I've had good success there, and I look forward to returning," Woods said on his website.

Singh, however, has also enjoyed himself at Disney World, capturing the title in 2003 and finishing in tie for second last year behind Ryan Palmer.

Goosen, who was forced out of the WGC American Express championship with a groin injury, is planning to play in all three of the remaining PGA Tour events.

The South African will be hoping for a return to the form he displayed last month, when he won consecutive titles in Asia and Europe at the China Masters in Beijing and the German Masters in Cologne.

Presidents Cup hero Chris DiMarco, who drained the final putt to secure victory for the U.S. at Lake Manassas, Virginia, is the only other member of the top 10 set to tee it up at Walt Disney World's Magnolia and Palm Golf Clubs that will co-host the event.

At the other end of the rankings, meanwhile, a group of players will continue their scramble through the final few events in a bid to earn a place among the top 125 money earners to secure their Tour card for next season.

Those players will be looking to follow in the spike marks of journeyman Wes Short Jr, who hit the jackpot in Las Vegas last week by beating Jim Furyk in a playoff for his first career title and a two-year Tour exemption.

He also vaulted from number 176 to 70 on the money list.

Since Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural event in 1971, only one player has triumphed at the event without shooting four rounds under par.

Players, however, could find scoring a little tougher this year with the Magnolia having undergone $600,000 in renovations, adding 326 yards of length to the layout to put it in the top-five on the PGA Tour in overall length at 7,516 yards.

October 19, 2005

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