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At least 10 Americans to skip Valderrama

David Duval has decided to skip the final World Golf Championships event in Spain for the second straight year, joining 10 other American-based players who declined to take part in the $5 million tournament at Valderrama.

A year ago, seven players from the top 50 in the world ranking declined to go.

Tiger Woods will return to defend his title in the American Express Championship. He beat Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain in a playoff last year, after making a triple bogey on the par-5 17th.

The field is determined by the top 50 players in the world ranking, along with leading money winners from all five tours - top 30 from the PGA Tour, top 20 from Europe and the top three each from the Australasian, Japan and South African tours.

Among reasons cited for not going were fatigue at the end of the year, a crammed schedule over the next two months and dislike for Valderrama.

``One of the big factors for me is that I played really well until I injured my knee, and since then I've played terrible,'' said Tom Lehman, who will not go. ``I feel like the year is dragging to an end. I'd rather go to Australia in January and be on top of my game than go to Spain and struggle.''

Duval, Fred Couples and Greg Norman did not go last year.

Others who will not play include Hal Sutton, Stewart Cink, John Huston, Loren Roberts, Paul Azinger and Notah Begay.

Jim Furyk also is not playing, although he is out with a wrist injury.

Phil Mickelson said he would go, although he might change his mind if he wins the Tour Championship this week.


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