Woods Looks for First Win in Japan

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MIYAZAKI, Japan -- Tiger Woods will be looking for his first victory in Japan when he tees off Thursday in the Dunlop Phoenix tournament.

Woods, who lost his top ranking to Vijay Singh this year, is a huge draw in this golf-crazy nation and will be the featured attraction in the $1.89 million event.
 
'I've never won in Japan,' Woods said Wednesday. 'With the history of this event and the players in the field this would be a great one to win.'
 
This is Woods' second appearance in the tournament; he finished eighth two years ago on a course he said presents some unique challenges.
 
'You're going to have some very delicate up-and-downs when you miss the greens,' said Woods, who was second to Colin Montgomerie in a one-day Skins event in South Korea on Sunday. 'Most of the greens are domed, and it's very difficult to get the ball close to the pins.'
 
He also played in Japan in the 1998 Casio World Open, finishing 15th, and the 2001 World Cup, coming in second with teammate David Duval.
 
Woods, criticized by some this year for changing a swing that helped him become golf's dominant player, will be joined in the Dunlop Phoenix by British Open champion Todd Hamilton, who finds himself back in familiar territory.
 
The 39-year-old Hamilton was a regular on the Japan Tour before qualifying for the PGA Tour.
 
'It's nice to be back,' Hamilton said. 'Obviously, I'm a little tired but will be ready to go after a good night's sleep.'
 
Other players in the field include American Stewart Cink, South Korea's K.J. Choi, Australia's Aaron Baddeley and Denmark's Thomas Bjorn.
 
Bjorn will be looking to tie the record of three Dunlop Phoenix titles held by Japan's Jumbo Ozaki.
 
Bjorn beat Spain's Sergio Garcia to win this event in 1999 and defeated Garcia again last year by coming from behind on the final day.
 
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Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Dunlop Phoenix Tournament