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Tiger Woods to play 2006 Dubai Desert Classic

World number one Tiger Woods will aim to make it third time lucky at next year's Dubai Desert Classic, where prize money has risen to $2.4 million.

Woods competed in the European Tour event in 2001 and 2004 but failed to win on either occasion. Last year South African Ernie Els claimed an unprecedented third title at the Emirates Gold Club's Majlis Course.

"I always enjoy visiting Dubai. It's an extremely hospitable place where the people and the tournament organisers treat the players so well," said Woods, winner of six titles this year including the U.S. Masters and British Open.

"The level of competition is always extremely high so I know I'll have to play my best golf if I'm going to win," the 29-year-old American added in a statement.

"But it's a great venue, the course is always in immaculate condition and the weather reminds me of back home in Florida."

Tournament chairman Mohamed al-Abbar said on Monday the 2006 event, which runs from February 2-5, will be the richest in the tournament's 17-year history.

With a total prize fund of $2.4 million, it will provide the 120 competing players with the chance to pick up a winner's cheque of $400,000.

Al-Abbar added: "We are naturally delighted and proud that Tiger Woods has again agreed to join us for the 2006 Dubai Desert Classic.

"Having the world's greatest golfer play in your event is something many tournaments dream of, so for us to be able to welcome him to the Majlis Course for the third time in six years is a major boost for golf in the Middle East, especially Dubai."

October 24, 2005

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