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Woods Becomes Host With Most

His Williams World Challenge will include 12 of the top 16 golfers, but not Mickelson.

October 14, 2003|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

The field for the Williams World Challenge will include tournament host Tiger Woods among 12 of the top 16 players in the World Golf Rankings.

This is noteworthy according to Fred Couples, who was added to the field by a sponsor exemption, because, "anything Tiger does is incredible."

Invitations to the tournament are extended to the top 11 players in the world, the defending champion, and four sponsor exemptions.

Notably absent from the list is Phil Mickelson, who is ranked No. 12 in the world. He became eligible when No. 5 Jim Furyk and No. 10 Retief Goosen chose not to play, but Mickelson did the same.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday October 15, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
Golf tournament -- The name of the Dec. 11-14 golf tournament at Sherwood Country Club is the Target World Challenge Presented by Williams. It was incorrectly identified as the Williams World Challenge in a Tuesday Sports section article.

Woods appeared via satellite from Orlando on Monday and discussed the tournament with members of the media gathered at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, site of the Dec. 11-14 tournament.

"He turned us down," Woods said of Mickelson without elaborating. The defending champion is Padraig Harrington. Along with Couples, the sponsor exemptions are No. 19 Jay Haas, No. 37 Ben Curtis, the British Open champion, and No. 48 Shaun Micheel, who won the PGA Championship.

Vijay Singh, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, David Toms, Kenny Perry, Nick Price, Darren Clarke, Justin Leonard, K.J. Choi and Chris DiMarco round out the field.

Tickets: (714) 816-1806 or www.targetworldchallenge.com.

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Mickelson is passing on a lucrative opportunity. The tournament purse has been increased from $3.8 million to $5 million. The winner will receive $1.2 million and the player finishing last in the 16-player field wins $150,000.

There is no cut.

"The tournament represents the best odds of becoming a millionaire you can find on the market today," said Earl Woods, Tiger's father and president of The Tiger Woods Foundation. "It beats the reality TV shows. I wish someone would invite me to compete."

Tiger Woods donates all of his winnings from the tournament to The Tiger Woods Foundation, which also benefits from the proceeds of the event.

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Woods, who leads the PGA Tour with five victories and is the leading money winner, said the hotly contested race for player of the year has not yet been decided.

"It's still up in the air," he said. "I may be a touch ahead right now, but we still have one big event left so it'll be pretty exciting to see what happens."

The Tour Championship is Nov. 6-9 in Houston.

Weir, the Masters champion, Furyk, the U.S. Open Champion, and Love, winner of the Players Championship, are considered the other favorites for player of the year.

Woods said that if any of them win the season-ending tournament, they should be player of the year.

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At Woods' urging, the PGA Tour will institute voluntary testing of drivers next year to determine if the clubs are within the USGA specifications for spring-like effect.

Woods would like to see it taken one step further.

"The tour is heading in the right direction with voluntary testing," Woods said.

"I still think it needs to be mandatory, myself."

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