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Warren Bennett

Tiger aims at fourth straight Grand Slam

David Duval has one word to describe his three opponents in this week's PGA Grand Slam of Golf -- champions.

``I think that's the highest compliment you can give,'' said Duval, the British Open champion.

Duval faces Masters champion Tiger Woods, U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and PGA champion David Toms in the $1 million 36-hole stroke-play event that starts Tuesday.

``It's the hardest tournament to qualify for,'' said Woods, who is seeking his fourth consecutive Grand Slam title. ``You take great pride in being here, obviously you're one of the best players to have won a major championship and be in this position.''

Woods, Duval and Goosen are a little travel weary, coming off this past weekend's World Cup in Japan that was won by Goosen and South African teammate Ernie Els.

``I'm a little more tired than I normally am, but I've come to this tournament in worse condition,'' Woods said.

Last year, Woods arrived at the 7,064-yard Poipu Bay Golf Course two hours before his tee time from Thailand. But he still managed to pull out a win against Vijay Singh by eagling the par-5 18th in regulation and the first hole of a playoff.

But this time, Woods had a little more time to enjoy Hawaii before the tournament got under way.

``I laid around and did nothing and just kinda hung out,'' Woods said. ``I tried to even out my farmer tan but other than that, I didn't do much of anything.''

Woods, the youngest participant in this year's field at 25, is making his fifth entry into the tournament, joining Greg Norman as the only two players to earn five Grand Slam invitations.

Duval, Goosen and Toms are first-time major champions.

``I think this event helps you to realize what you have accomplished because you are sitting among the four big winners of the year,'' Duval said. ``At the same time, I'm coming in here off a whirlwind trip and I'm a little beat up and tired. But sitting up here makes you feel like you accomplished something.''

The 2001 Masters was Woods' fourth consecutive victory in a major. He has earned $5,687,777 to top the money list for the third straight year.

``To go out there the next couple days and compete against them is what it's all about,'' Woods said. ``I'm looking forward to it, and I know they are.''

All four players will go home with some money. The Grand Slam winner will take home $400,000 with the fourth-place finisher earning $150,000.

Goosen, who won the European money title, said the tournament is giving him a chance to get a close look at the other players.

``I learned a lot from these three guys and I'm still learning from them,'' he said. ``I'm trying to raise my game to their level.''

Toms, who might feel he's not going to be the longest off the tee, said: ``When I looked at them, I realized I'm going to hit first into the green all week.''

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