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Tiger Woods off to worst start in almost two decades

Tiger Woods did something he's never done before last weekend in Dubai. And for once in his storied career, it wasn't something good.

By finishing tied for 41st in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic the week after he played only three rounds and finished 80th at the Farmers Insurance Open, Woods finished outside the top 20 in his first two starts of a season for the first time in his 18 seasons on tour.

Before this year, Woods' worst start to a season came in 2011, when he tied for 44th at Torrey Pines and 20th in Dubai. He started 2013 with a missed cut in Abu Dhabi, but bounced back to win at Torrey Pines.

Woods has won at least one of his first two starts in a calendar year an amazing nine times. And in three of those years, he won both of his first two starts.

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"Unfortunately, I turned it around too late,'' said Woods on Sunday after he birdied the last three holes of his final-round 71 in Dubai. ''I drove it great today. My iron game was not as sharp as I'd like, and I didn't make anything. I had seven lip-outs. ''

After his disappointing showing with his approach game and his putting, he vowed to focus on those aspects of his game.

"I'm definitely going to work on my putting,'' he said. ''My light putting needs to be better than it has been. I'm hitting my lines, I just don't have the speed right."

Woods watched the Super Bowl in Dubai, then jetted off to India for a private exhibition match in Delhi on Tuesday. He hasn't yet confirmed his schedule, but he is believed to be planning to make his next start at the Honda Classic at PGA National followed by the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.

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