Last year, Woods edged Colin Montgomerie on the third hole of a playoff. In 2001, Woods rallied from 10 strokes back to beat Michael Campbell.
And in 2000, Woods blew a third-round lead for only one of two times in his career and finished tied for third. The world's top-ranked golfer ends his four-week layoff since the Masters at this $2.7 million event starting Thursday, his first tournament in Europe this season.
'I've had some pretty exciting finishes here - I hope I'm in that position again,' Woods said. 'I'm looking forward to it.'
Woods has cut back his schedule since knee surgery in December. He wants to make sure the injury heals properly, then will re-evaluate his schedule at the end of the year. On Monday, he pulled out of the Colonial, which starts next week.
'I don't have concerns,' he said. 'The doctors just said it's in my best interests long term to take it slow for now. Then I can play as many events as I want over the next few years, 40 a year if I want to.'
Woods is the favorite in this PGA European Tour tournament again, especially since Ernie Els withdrew last week because of a recurring wrist injury. Only two others have won the event twice, England's Paul Casey and Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson.
Woods was disappointed when he found out Els would not be playing. Though Els has often settled for second behind Woods at the majors, he won four tournaments early this year.
'I was looking forward to playing against him,' Woods said.
The field will still boast world top-10 players Padraig Harrington and Retief Goosen, but they will be playing on a damaged Gut Kaden course. All 18 holes have been affected by a fungus that makes the greens uneven. It's unclear whether that will impact shots.
'I haven't seen the course yet and haven't seen the conditions,' Woods said. 'When I do, I'll draw up a plan.'
Woods has had success here, also winning in his first appearance in 1999 by three strokes over Goosen. The tournament has become one of his favorites since good friend Mark O'Meara played it in 1998.
'He said it was a great event and the people have been fantastic and why not take a look? We both came over here in 1999 and I've been here ever since. It's been a lot of fun,' Woods said.
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