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Top names in Ireland for charity event

The best line-up of golf stars in Europe this year will tee it up at the Adare Manor Club on the west coast of Ireland on Monday and Tuesday -- not for a European Tour event, but for a pro-am.

Tiger Woods is flying in from the Western Open in Chicago overnight Sunday to join the likes of Ernie Els, Michael Campbell, Davis Love, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Colin Montgomerie, Fred Couples and even Laura Davies.

The event is the J.P. McManus Pro-Am, held every five years to raise millions for charity. Last time, it ended with an auction in which a single bidder (billionaire financier Joe Lewis) paid $1.8 million for the right to play a single round of golf with Woods in Florida. That figure is about the total purse available to the professionals in the 36-hole exhibition tournament, but the point of the get-together is to raise an anticipated $25 million for charity.

The event also showcases the contacts that McManus, a prominent Irish racehorse owner and former shareholder in the Manchester United soccer team, has made in golf over the years that he can attract such a list. McManus, in fact, co-owns the Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados, where Woods got married.

The Americans on hand along with Woods, Couples and Love include John Cook, Fred Funk, Lee Janzen, Mark O'Meara and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, along with major winners Rich Beem and Ben Curtis.

Also in the field are former European Ryder Cup players Peter Baker, Thomas Bjorn, Paul Broadhurst, Paul Casey, Andrew Coltart, Eamonn Darcy, Luke Donald, Paul McGinley, Miguel Angel Jim?nez, Sandy Lyle, Christy O'Connor Jr., Jose Maria Olazabal, Jesper Parnevik, Ian Poulter, Jarmo Sandelin, Sam Torrance, Jean van de Velde, Philip Walton, Lee Westwood and Ian Woosnam, the new European Ryder Cup captain.

And while the focus of the event is clearly on the professionals and a handful of celebrity players, the tournament also includes some everyday players. In recent months, charities across Ireland have held fundraising tournaments where the prizes included spots in the McManus event. Approximately 9,000 people entered.


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