- Bob Harig, Senior Golf Writer
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For the second straight year, Tiger Woods will begin his new golf year in the Middle East, committing Wednesday to play in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, a European Tour event.
Woods, ranked No. 2 in the world, will be joined by No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who also played the event in 2012, at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
The 2013 tournament will be Jan. 17-20. That is a week earlier than this year's event, meaning it conflicts with the PGA Tour's Humana Challenge in the Palm Springs, Calif., area. Woods has never played the tournament previously known as the Bob Hope Classic.
Last year the Abu Dhabi tournament conflicted with the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, a tournament Woods skipped for the first time when healthy. Woods has won the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines six times as well as the 2008 U.S. Open, which was played there.
This allows for the possibility that Woods would begin his PGA Tour season a week later in Southern California at Torrey. Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said Wednesday that his schedule is still being determined.
Woods held a share of the lead this year through three rounds in Abu Dhabi after playing the first three rounds with McIlroy. It was the first time they had played in the same group in an official event.
He eventually finished tied for third, 2 strokes behind Englishman Robert Rock. McIlroy was second, a stroke behind Rock.
Both players are expected to receive appearance fees, a common practice at European Tour events for big-name players.
9hZach Jones, ESPN Stats & Information