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Garcia defends stay away players

Sergio Garcia was quick to defend Tiger Woods and other top players who are skipping the Air Canada Championship.

``You have to realize there are so many great tournaments, not all the great players can play in all of them,'' said Garcia, the 20-year-old Spanish star who beat Woods 1-up on Monday night in their made-for-TV match in Palm Desert, Calif.

``Sometimes you're going to get Tiger and David Duval and Davis Love in a tournament, but you're not going to be able to have them here. They have to rest, too.''

Only nine of the PGA Tour's top-50 money-winners are playing in the $3 million tournament at the Northview Golf and Country Club.

Garcia holds happily acceptscheque for winning the Battle at Bighorn - but understands why Tiger Woods and others can't play every week.Allsport.

``Some of the more well-known guys, after the majors, take the rest of the summer off,'' said Canadian Mike Weir, the defending champion.``This tournament is going about it the right way. It does everything first class. We're treated better here than anywhere.''

Sweden's Jesper Parnevik, a two-time winner this year who is fifth on the money list, also is in the field along with Mark Calcavecchia, the 1997 winner.

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