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Big names commit to new Boston event

Tiger Woods and British Open champion Ben Curtis will help welcome the PGA Tour back to New England.

The Deutsche Bank Championship announced Monday that Curtis intends to play at the TPC of Boston event on Labor Day weekend. Woods already has committed, and his charity will be one of the beneficiaries of the $5 million tournament.

Also expected to be in the field are Davis Love III, PGA champion Rich Beem, U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Greg Norman and New England natives Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade.

``The list of the players is as good as anybody, save the majors,'' Faxon said at the event's media day Monday. ``Obviously, Tiger being here is going to make people happy.''

Golf has its American roots in New England, from Francis Ouimet's momentous victory in the 1913 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline to the first Ryder Cup, at the Worcester Country Club in 1927.

The PGA made a regular stop in the region from 1965-98, playing a tournament under a variety of names -- most recently the CVS Charity Classic -- at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton. The Tour pulled out of the Western Massachusetts stop after 1998 for financial reasons.

``To not have PGA golf here is sad. It was depressing when the CVS Classic left Pleasant Valley,'' said Faxon, who played in that tournament 20 times -- the first as a 19-year-old with a sponsor's exemption. ``I think the Tour right away wanted to fill that void. But it's not easy to do. You can't just say, 'We'll find a golf course.' You have to have the right combination.''

The TPC at Boston opened last June, but it needed a little tinkering to make it tournament-ready. Four new tee boxes have been built, and the eighth green has been reshaped. The changes should add three or four strokes over the way the course has played the last year, Faxon said.

The new course also has all the amenities that make it attractive to the touring pros. There is a two-way driving range, so golfers can practice hitting into the wind. The clubhouse has the space to accommodate big events, and the course has room for big galleries, too.

``To me, it's the nicest TPC facility I've been to,'' Faxon said, noting it is 40 minutes from his house in Rhode Island. ``And when I look at the golf course, it looks like it's been there forever.''


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