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Tiger back at Honda event for first time since 1993

Woods drops his driver while teeing off on the 10th hole during the final round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Woods drops his driver while teeing off on the 10th hole during the final round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

(Reuters) - Former world number one Tiger Woods will play in next month's $1.02 million Honda Classic for the first time as a professional.

"I've heard great things about the Honda Classic and now that I live here in Florida I want to play whenever possible," the 14-times major champion said on his website (www.tigerwoods.com) on Tuesday.

"Jack Nicklaus's involvement in the tournament and the benefits to the local community are also important," added Woods, who made his only previous appearance in the event as a 17-year-old amateur in 1993.

The Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation is the main beneficiary of the March 1-4 Honda Classic to be played at Palm Beach Gardens.

Woods is also planning to compete in next week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Arizona - a tournament he won in 2003, 2004 and 2008- and the WGC-Cadillac Championship March 8-11 in Miami, a trophy he has lifted eight times.

The 36-year-old American has kicked off his season by finishing joint-third at the European Tour's Abu Dhabi Championship in January and tied for 15th at last week's Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in California.

"I'm excited about my start and look forward to keep building," said Woods. "I've made great strides from last year and hopefully all my hard work will pay off with a victory soon."

Woods has slipped to 18th in the world rankings having not won a full-field event since the 2009 Australian Masters.

(Writing by Tony Jimenez in London, editing by Mark Meadows)

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