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Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy favourites at Doral

World number one Tiger Woods will have to contend with the hottest player in the game when he continues his comeback from reconstructive knee surgery at this week’s WGC-CA Championship.

Australian Geoff Ogilvy is set to launch his title defence in Thursday’s opening round at the Doral Golf Resort where he will be bidding for a fourth tournament win in eight starts.

Ogilvy clinched his third World Golf Championships (WGC) crown at this month’s Accenture Match Play Championship and is eager to return to Doral in pursuit of a fourth.

“It’s exciting to defend a golf tournament, to go back to where you’ve played well,” said Ogilvy, who faces a strong field of 80 including the world’s top 20 players.

“I played well the year before too, so the last couple of years I’ve had a great time at Doral.

“It’s one of the biggest tournaments in the world and I’m really looking forward to it,” the Australian told reporters after crushing Britain’s Paul Casey 4&3 in the Accenture Match Play Championship final.

Ogilvy, the world number four, has produced sparkling form since taking a six-week break from the game at the end of the 2008 U.S. season.

He clinched his first title on home soil at the Australian PGA Championship in December before cruising to a six-stroke victory at the PGA Tour’s season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii the following month.

While Ogilvy’s three WGC wins make him the second most successful player since the elite events were launched in 1999, the pacesetting Woods has piled up a remarkable 15 victories.

In 27 WGC starts, the American world number one has recorded 24 top-10 finishes and earned nearly $20 million.

This week, however, will be his first strokeplay tournament since his astonishing playoff win at the U.S. Open in June.

Woods made his hotly anticipated return to the PGA Tour at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona where he was encouraged by his form, despite losing to South African Tim Clark in the second round.

“I was very pleased with the way I hit the golf ball,” he said. “After walking down the cart paths and playing, getting some rhythm of playing, I had no soreness, no pain. Now it’s just a matter of getting back, and playing more rounds.”

Woods is a six-times winner of the WGC-CA Championship, clinching his first victory at Valderrama in Spain in 1999 and his most recent at Doral two years ago.

The tournament had previously rotated venues around the world until it was given a permanent home at Doral in 2007.


March 10, 2009

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