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Basketball fan Woods has split loyalties for NBA Finals

Golfer Tiger Woods tosses a ball back in bounds as he watches the Orlando Magic play the Cleveland Cavaliers from courtside seats during Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Finals NBA basketball playoff series in Orlando, Florida May 30, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - World number one Tiger Woods can be forgiven for having split loyalties for the best-of-seven NBA Finals starting on Thursday between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic.

As a native Californian, he supported the Lakers from his early childhood but he now lives in Orlando where he was courtside last week watching the Magic clinch the Eastern Conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I’m really torn about the NBA finals,” Woods, 33, said in his monthly newsletter issued on Tuesday.

“I grew up a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan but I have season tickets to Orlando Magic games. Hopefully, it will be a great series.”

Woods will be unable to attend the first two games on Thursday and Sunday at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

The 14-times major champion is competing this week at the Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial tournament in Dublin, Ohio where he won the title for three consecutive years from 1999.

Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Ed Osmond