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Woods to Play Pebble Beach Pro-Am for First Time Since 2002

Tiger Woods will play at next month’s Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Tournament, his first appearance at the U.S. PGA Tour event since 2002.

Woods, who ended his 749-day winless drought at the Chevron World Challenge last month, disclosed his plans for the Feb. 9-12 event on his website.

“I haven’t been to this tournament lately, but I have a lot of good memories at Pebble,” Woods said in a statement. “It will be fun going back.”

Woods, 36, will begin his 2012 golf season at the HSBC Championship on Jan. 26 in Abu Dhabi. He last played at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Carmel, California, during the 2010 U.S. Open, where he tied for fourth.

Since Woods last played in the Pebble Beach pro-am event, the tournament has undergone several changes to its format.

The event, which groups professionals with amateurs and is played on three courses along the California coast, reduced its field to 156 professionals and amateurs from 180, a move aimed at improving pace of play. The Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Golf Club also replaced Poppy Hills Golf Course in the three-course rotation, a change that intrigued Woods.

“I’ve never played Monterey Peninsula and am looking forward to it,” he said. “From all I’ve heard, it’s a wonderful course and the greens are fast.”

U.S. Open

Woods won the tournament in 2000. He came from five strokes back against Matt Gogel in the final round, four months before he went on to post a 15-shot win in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

The 14-time major tournament champion is four titles shy of tying Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18, a quest that will resume at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, in April.

Coming off of a victory at the Chevron event, Woods said he is eager to begin his 2012 season. He struggled with injuries last season.

“It’s good to be healthy again, and I’m hoping to get off to a fast start,” he said.

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