- Bob Harig, Senior Golf Writer
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Tiger Woods cited fatigue as his reason for missing this week's WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, an event he decided to skip months ago to partake in corporate commitments in Asia.
He also confirmed that his first tournament of 2013 will be the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, meaning he will not open his season at the PGA Tour's Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. Woods has not played the tournament at Kapalua since 2005.
Ranked No. 2 in the world, Woods and No. 1 Rory McIlroy were criticized this week by the group head of sponsorship for HSBC, Giles Morgan, who lamented not having the top players in the field.
"I was tired, and doing these things are easy," Woods told reporters at a clinic in Singapore. "Competing and getting ready for another golf tournament, I just didn't want to do that. I've got four more rounds at my tournament in L.A. (the World Challenge) and I'm done until Abu Dhabi next year, so I'm looking forward to having an extended break. This is my offseason now, and I'm really looking forward to getting away from it.
"Competing and playing golf tournaments after a long schedule, the playoffs, the Ryder Cup, and a lot of other tournaments ... it's been awhile."
With the World Challenge at the end of the month, Woods will play in 24 events this year -- which includes an exhibition in Turkey and the Ryder Cup -- the most since the 2005 season.
He is coming off a tie for fourth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, where he made eight birdies and no bogeys in a final-round 63. Woods had committed to that tournament in August and said at the time he wouldn't be playing the WGC event this week due to corporate commitments. One of them turned out to be a one-day exhibition in China against McIlroy.
Morgan expressed "disappointment" earlier this week that both McIlroy and Woods were in China but did not stay to play the WGC event at Mission Hills. McIlroy is taking the week off before playing three of the remaining four European Tour events.
"To have a World Golf Championship in Asia is really important for the sport, to balance the sport out, and to grow," Morgan said. "And because it's a World Golf Championship event, it requires the best players to be here."
HSBC also sponsors the Abu Dhabi tournament, which both Woods and McIlroy played this year (McIlroy finished second, Woods tied for third) and where both receive appearance fees. They will get paid again in January to return. The WGC event is co-sponsored by the PGA Tour, which prohibits such fees.
Woods, who two years ago this week relinquished the No. 1 ranking in the world and dropped as far as No. 58 in late October 2011, has risen to No. 2 on the strength of four worldwide victories during that time, including three on the PGA Tour. He finished third in the final FedEx Cup standings and is second on the PGA Tour money list.
"This year, I've had three wins and things are certainly progressing nicely," said Woods, who has been plagued by knee, back and Achilles injuries in recent years. "Last year I was 127th on the (PGA Tour) money list, or whatever I was, and this year I'm second so that's a pretty good improvement in a year and given that I'm healthy I'm really looking forward to next year.
"Four more opportunities at major championships, and with my game improving, I'm very excited about that for next year."
20hZach Jones, ESPN Stats & Information