DUBAI, United Arab Emirates Tiger Woods isn't slowly easing into the 2008 season. He's playing back-to-back tournaments and flying halfway around the world to do it.
After a commanding win in California, Woods is feeling fresh and hoping for a fifth straight title in sunny, skyscraper-studded Dubai.
"It's one of those things where I've always played pretty well coming off breaks, and you feel fresh and my practice sessions were pretty good," Woods said at palm tree-lined Emirates Golf Club, where the $2.5 million Dubai Desert Classic gets under way Thursday.
"Coming over here after playing well last week, (I'm) really looking forward to teeing it up this week and giving it a go."
Woods' dominant eight-stroke win Sunday at the Buick Invitational was his fourth straight and 62nd career title, tying Arnold Palmer for fourth on the PGA Tour list. If he triumphs in Dubai, it will be his seventh win in eight starts, including a victory in his own tournament, the Target World Challenge in December.
On Wednesday, Woods again said if he controls his own play and peaks at the right times this year, the four majors are in reach."It's about playing well at the right times," he said. "It's about getting lucky, actually. You have to have everything go your way."
AZINGER CHANGES RYDER CUP FORMAT: Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger is switching the format with hopes of giving his American team an edge, going back to alternate shot in the opening matches for the first time since 1999.
"I felt like the Americans had an edge in alternate shot," Azinger said Wednesday at the FBR Open. "And I think it's partly responsible for why Europe has gotten off to a pretty hot start."
The Ryder Cup will be played Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla, and the home captain gets to decide the order.
Alternate shot, or foursomes, had been used in the first sessions every year since 1981 until European captain Seve Ballesteros opened with better ball (fourballs) in 1997 at Valderrama. U.S. captain Ben Crenshaw switched back to alternate shot in 1999 at Brookline, but the last three Ryder Cup matches have started with better ball.
Europe has won the last three Ryder Cup matches, and five of the last six.