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Curtis Strange ready for Champions debut

Curtis Strange is ready to let his clubs do the talking again.

A television analyst for most of the past eight seasons, the two-time U.S. Open winner will make his Champions Tour debut Friday in the ACE Group Classic.

``I'm glad to finally be here,'' Strange said Thursday. ``It's like starting something new. I haven't done this in a while. It's a different feeling than what I've had the last seven, eight years. It's the type of feeling I had when I was playing the regular tour. You want to be ready the first week out.''

Strange won 17 PGA Tour titles, highlighted by his 1988 and 1989 U.S. Open victories, and also captained the 2002 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

``I've been working at it very seriously, taking it very seriously,'' Strange said. ``Right now, I'm very enthusiastic about it.

Craig Stadler won last year, beating Tom Watson and Gary Koch on the first hole of a playoff. Stadler went on to lead the tour with five victories.

Stadler has made three PGA Tour starts this year. He tied for ninth in the Sony Open in Hawaii, tied for 14th in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and missed the cut last week in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Stadler also tied for seventh in the Champions Tour's MasterCard Championship and played in the tour's skins game.

``I think there is less pressure back on the regular tour because I don't look at that as being my livelihood for the year,'' Stadler said. ``I look at it as going back and playing a few events that I enjoy playing, having some fun. My home is the Champions Tour.''

Dana Quigley and Hale Irwin, coming off victories in Hawaii, also are in the field. Quigley took the season-opening MasterCard Championship for the second time in three years, and Irwin won his fifth straight title in the Turtle Bay Championship.

 

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