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TEEING OFF | This week on tour

Five things to keep an eye on this weekend on the pro golf scene:

February 21, 2007

1 The numbers don't lie for Charles Howell III or Phil Mickelson. Howell, who started the year ranked 82nd, is now 16th and a cinch for the Masters. Mickelson moved to No. 3 in the rankings with his runner-up finish to Howell at Riviera, bumping Adam Scott.

2 The Gallery at Dove Mountain is only 5 years old and is carved out of desert wilderness. So players on the course for the Accenture Match Play Championship might run across -- besides a Tiger -- such wildlife as bobcats, coyotes, deer, hawks, javelinas, mountain lions, quail, rabbits, turtles and, of course, snakes.

3 Last week, international players Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen made their 2007 PGA Tour debuts at Riviera, and it's Darren Clarke's turn this week. Clarke missed the cut at the Qatar Masters, tied for 20th at Dubai and tied for 27th at the Malaysian Open on the European Tour. Don't count him out. He beat Woods in a 36-hole final to win this match-play event in 2000, but he has a tough opening match against Sergio Garcia.

4 Won Joon "Boom Boom" Lee? The 21-year-old Korean-born Australian turned pro in November, won the New South Wales Amateur in match play and stroke play and was the Western Amateur's 54-hole medalist. He's playing the Nationwide Tour event this week in New Zealand.

5 If you're keeping score, with her win last week at Turtle Bay, Paula Creamer now leads Michelle Wie in victories, 5-0. Creamer won her first LPGA event at 19. Wie is 17.

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STAT OF THE WEEK

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The records of the top five players in the Official World Golf Ranking and their record in the Accenture Match Play Championship, which began in 1999.

*--* Player Rec. Best finish Tiger Woods 23-5 1 (2003, '04) Jim Furyk 6-6 T-9 (2000, '02, '03) Phil Mickelson 10-7 T-5 (2004) Adam Scott 12-5 3 (2003) Ernie Els 6-7 4 (2001)

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Note: Woods has one first-round loss, Furyk has three, Mickelson two and Els three.

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