Woods to skip season opener

Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour winning streak will be put on hold with the world number one set to miss the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii.

Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour winning streak will be put on hold with the world number one set to miss the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii.

Woods, who has won six consecutive PGA events, has spent the last 12 days skiing and relaxing with family and friends and claims he will not have enough time to get his game ready for the winners-only event which begins on January 4.

“I considered playing in next week’s Mercedes-Benz Championship, but I just haven’t been able to prepare,” Woods said on his website. “I usually spend at least one week working on my game before a tournament, and have been unable to do that this year.”

Woods missed this event last year to spend time with his father Earl, who died of cancer in May.

This year, the PGA Tour revamped its schedule to feature a points race that starts with this event and concludes with four “play-off” tournaments at the end of the season, with the winner getting 10million (£5.1m) in deferred compensation.

But Woods and Phil Mickelson, who has not played at the event since 2001, are not entered. Ernie Els and Retief Goosen did not win on the PGA Tour in 2006 and will not participate either.

Woods’ first tournament in 2007 will be at the Buick Invitational, where he is the two-time defending champion. That event will be held from January 25-28.

The 30-year-old started the 2006 season with a win at the Buick Open and picked up seven more titles along the way, including the British Open and PGA Championship.

Woods completed the year with a victory in the Target World Challenge, the tournament that benefits his own foundation, on December 17. But his last PGA Tour win was in the American Express Championship outside London.

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