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Retief Goosen urges top players to play globally

Twice U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen challenged Tiger Woods and the world's other top golfers on Tuesday to do more for the sport and play more events outside the United States.

Goosen and his globetrotting South African compatriot Ernie Els will help make up one of the strongest fields of the season as they return to the U.S. PGA Tour this week for the first time since the Masters for the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas.

It marks just the third time this year that the world's top five players -- Woods (1), Vijay Singh (2), Els (3), Mickelson (4) -- will tee off at the same event and Goosen (5) thinks it would be good for the sport if golf's best also went head-to-head occasionally outside the PGA Tour.

"Well, me and Ernie sort of say that we need to support a little bit some of the tournaments outside America," Goosen told reporters. "In a way we would like to see these other three guys maybe come over to Europe and make up a great field over there, all five of the top five players playing in a tournament somewhere in Europe or even in China just to really boost the game of golf all the way around the world.

"But the chances of that happening, I suppose, are just about nothing. To have all five of us playing here this week adds something to the tournament."

For several decades, the best players from South Africa, Australia and Canada have competed regularly in the United States where more and more top European players are now featuring.

This year Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Darren Clarke, Sergio Garcia, David Howell, Padraig Harrington, Thomas Levet and Ian Poulter are all playing on the PGA Tour.

Of 19 tournaments in 2005, eight have been won by 'international' players -- Australians Stuart Appleby, Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy and Peter Lonard, Ireland's Harrington and Fiji's Vijay Singh, a three-time winner.


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