Tiger Woods commits to $10M Players - and is dwarfed by Yao Ming

    Tiger Woods playing at a 2013 exhibition in China, where he met NBA star Yao Ming on Friday.

    (CNN)Tiger Woods may not have been a contender on the final day at the Masters, but he was encouraged enough by his comeback to commit to a start at golf's "fifth major" next month -- after first stopping off in Asia.

    The former world No. 1 will line up at the $10 million Players Championship, a tournament where he has won twice -- most recently in 2013 -- and been runner-up once.
    Woods, now ranked 106th after tying for 17th at Augusta on his return to action after a two-month break, did not qualify for next week's 64-man World Golf Championships Cadillac Match Play event in San Francisco.
      However, the 39-year-old took heart from his performance in the season's opening major, where he shot two sub-70 rounds and showed his short game is back in shape despite his continuing problems off the tee.
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      "I'm very encouraged," the 14-time major champion said on his website. "It felt great to get back out there with the guys and compete again.
      "I hit a lot of good shots and look forward to teeing it up again at the Players Championship."
      The tournament, held at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida from May 7-10, is one of the most prestigious on the PGA Tour.
      Woods did not defend his title last year due to back surgery. This month he appeared to hurt his wrist on the final day of the Masters, having gone into the last 18 holes tied for fifth, but later said he had popped the bone back into its joint.
      The American is expected to also play at the Memorial Tournament on June 4-7, according to its founder Jack Nicklaus, who had a "long talk" with Woods at Augusta.
      "He's been struggling," Nicklaus told reporters Wednesday, the PGA Tour said on its website. "We talked a little bit about that, but we talked more about his kids and events that are going on and we talked a little bit about what he's been doing working on his preparation. I've said many times, he'll be fine."
      Woods is in Asia this weekend, visiting China and Japan as part of a promotional visit for one of his main sponsors.
      Shanghai, where Woods started on Friday, is also hosting the China Open -- a co-sanctioned European Tour event.
      As well as playing with kids, Woods met China's ex-basketballer Yao Ming -- and posted an image on Twitter of the 7-foot 6-inch former NBA star towering above him.
      "When Tiger visited Asia in 2011, his presence was absolutely electric," said Marc Patrick, VP Global Marketing of Nike Golf.
      "He really connected with the young athletes and inspired so many golf enthusiasts. We believe this generated tremendous energy around the sport of golf in Asia .We look forward to continued success again this year."