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Watson donates $1m Schwab prize to charity

Tom Watson captured the 2003 Charles Schwab Cup and its $1 million prize Sunday and announced that he plans to donate the annuity to ALS research and patient care, as well as other charities.

The 1988 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee joins Allen Doyle (2001) and Hale Irwin (2002) as winners of the Charles Schwab Cup. He entered this week's Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a 981-point lead over Bruce Lietzke and won the Cup Sunday with a second-place finish in the Champions Tour's season-ending event at Sonoma Golf Club in Sonoma.

Jim Thorpe won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship by three shots over Watson.

Watson's longtime caddie, Bruce Edwards, was diagnosed with ALS in January. Since then, Watson has committed extensive time and effort to promote the disease and raise funds for various ALS organizations, including the ALS Therapy Development Foundation, a Cambridge, Mass.-based nonprofit company dedicated to finding a cure for the disease. Watson, in conjunction with Edwards and fellow PGA Tour professional, Jeff Julian, who is also afflicted with the disease, have helped raise nearly $1 million this year through Driving4Life, a fundraising campaign whose proceeds are directed to the Foundation. Information on Driving4Life can be found and donations made online via the Web site, www.Driving4Life.Org.

"Through my Foundation I'm going to fund ALS research and patient services, and assorted other charities which I yearly give quite a bit of money to," Watson said. "It will allow me to give more money to those charities than I normally do as well as focus on ALS for my buddy and pal, Bruce. We're going to find a way to beat this thing for him and the 30,000 others who are affected."

Watson did not tell Edwards that he was planning on making the donation, and surprised him with the announcement on Sunday.

"I didn't tell him," Watson said. "I wanted to make sure I won it first."

Watson, who won two major championships this year ( Senior British Open and JELD-WEN Tradition ), led the competition for the final eight weeks of the year after trailing Bruce Lietzke the previous six. Other leaders during the course of the year were Dana Quigley, Gil Morgan, Hale Irwin, John Jacobs and Lietzke.

The Charles Schwab Cup is a season-long championship points program designed to recognize the leading player on the Champions Tour. The program rewards both top finishes and week-in/week-out consistency at all 31 official / Charles Schwab Cup events. Points are awarded to the top-10 finishers and ties and are based on the money distribution for each tournament with every $1,000 earned being the equivalent of one Charles Schwab Cup point. Points are tripled at the Champions Tour's five major championships and the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

The Charles Schwab Cup offers $2.1 million in prize money to its five leading finishers at season's end with $1 million awarded to the champion.

Annuities were paid to the top five point earners:

Winner: Tom Watson ($1,000,000)
Second: Jim Thorpe ($500,000)
Third: Bruce Lietzke ($300,000)
Fourth: Tom Kite ($200,000)
Fifth: Gil Morgan ($100,000)

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