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Tiger Woods confirms entry to NEC Invitational

Tiger Woods, the top-ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking, has committed todefendhistitleattheWorldGolf Championships-NEC Invitational.

The$5-millionNECInvitationalwill be held Aug. 22-27 in Akron, Ohio, at FirestoneCountryClub'sSouthCourse.Itis the second of four World Golf Championships to be held in 2000.

"Weareverypleased that Tiger Woods will be back to defend his title," said ChampionshipDirectorTomStrong. "The world has been watching as he has made historythis summer, and all of Northeast Ohio is looking forward to seeing him in person again as he takes on the world's greatest players."

Woodswonthe1999NECInvitational by one stroke over Phil Mickelson. The victorybeganastreakofsix consecutive victories in PGA Tour events that reachedintothe2000 season. That streak matched Ben Hogan's in 1948 for the second longestin PGA Tour history. The record for consecutive victories is 11 by Byron Nelson in 1945.

With his eight-stroke victory in theOpen, Woods collected his 21st PGA Tour title since turning professional in September 1996. A pair of those titles came in World Golf Championships events. He won the 1999 World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational and followed that with a victory intheWorldGolf Championships-American Express Championship.

Tiger Woods will be back to defend his NEC Invitational Title. Allsport.

He haswonsixtimesthus far in 2000, including a record-setting 15-stroke triumphintheU.S.Open,andcurrently leads the PGA Tour money list with $5,735,581.

This year will mark his fourth appearance at Firestone Country Club. He finished tied for third in his debut there in 1997, tied for fifth in 1998, and followed that with his victory last year. His 8-under-par 62 in the third round last year is second lowest score ever recorded on the South Course, behind only Jose Maria Olazabal's 9-under-par 61 in 1990.

The field for the 2000 NEC Invitational will be comprised of:

  • The members of the victorious 1999 United States Ryder Cup Team.
  • The 12 leading European players on the Volvo Order of Merit through August 14.
  • The players eligible for the United States and International Teams for the 2000 Presidents Cup. The top 10 players for each team will be determined at the conclusion of the PGA Championship on Aug. 20. On Monday, Aug. 21, United States Captain Ken Venturi and International Captain Peter Thomson will each make two Captain's Choices to complete their teams.

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