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Woods & Jordan enjoy their pro-am

Tiger Woods, smiling and wise-cracking his way around the golf course, completed preparations for this week's Wachovia Championship in the company of basketball great Michael Jordan on Wednesday.

World number one Woods and fellow American Jordan, good friends for several years, played together for the first time in official competition in the pro-am at Quail Hollow Club.

"The tournament was nice enough to put us together," Woods told reporters after his threesome completed 18 holes of relaxed golf and light-hearted banter in front of packed galleries on a sun-drenched day.

"Michael's been like my big brother and it's been great to have him part of my life.

"We always have a great time. Whether it's playing golf or playing cards or just hanging out, whatever it is, we're always having a great time, always needling each other."

Since Woods turned professional in late 1996, he has regularly consulted Jordan on how to handle all the pressures of being a high-profile celebrity.

The pair first played golf together in Chicago in 1997, shortly after Woods stunned the sports world by winning that year's Masters by a record 12 strokes.

As their friendship has developed they have played social golf together whenever they can.

"We always play at home and we're in carts flying around," Woods said. "We're playing probably 36 or 54 holes and just getting it around. Today was a little different."

Out of PGA Tour action since tying for second at the Masters three weeks ago, Woods heads a strong field at Quail Hollow that includes 27 players in the world's top 30.

"I'm really excited to get back," the 31-year-old said. "I took almost two weeks off and then started cranking up pretty hard over the last week and a half or so."

Woods, who tied for third and 11th in his previous two appearances at the event, is delighted to return to Quail Hollow.

"This is one of the neatest golf courses we get to play all year," he said. "You have to shape the ball both ways, and on top of that, you've really got to putt here.

"Any time you've got a great golf course, the field is going to come," added the American, a double winner on the 2007 PGA Tour


May 3, 2007

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