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Donald Trump brings reality TV to golf

Call it "The Apprentice" for golf's next millionaire.

Entrepreneur Donald Trump on Tuesday announced plans to turn his reality-TV touch to Tiger Woods wannabes in the Trump Million Dollar Invitational. The tournament will exclude pros from the major golf tours and instead feature players with unique human-interest stories.

"I am personally going to give $1 million to the one golfer who can prove they have the skill and nerve it takes to survive under the most extreme pressure," said the tirelessly self-promoting billionaire real estate mogul who became an unlikely TV darling with his reality show "The Apprentice."

The fine print, however, suggests otherwise.

The $1.5 million prize pool will come from the pockets of the 100 golfers -- or their backers, who each have to ante up a $15,000 entry fee -- in a competition staged without the benefit of handicap.

The players will also pay for their own expenses, travel costs and meals at the Trump International Golf Club on Canouan Island in St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean.

Would-be competitors must also have a way with words. They have to pen essays of their life stories and submit them by March 31 at www.trumpmilliondollar.com.

The event, to be played May 21-26 at the Raffles Resort on Canouan Island and broadcast on Walt Disney Co.-owned cable channel ESPN on July 2, is open to pros or amateurs 18 or older regardless of gender. Women will play from forward tees.

Ten players will advance from a three-day, 54-hole competition to a nine-hole playoff where, in a twist ripped straight from reality TV's playbook, one golfer will be eliminated on each hole until there are only two contestants.

The final two will play the last hole for the $1 million prize. The runner-up will receive $150,000. Prize money will be paid down to the 10th place finisher, who takes away $20,000.

Ties for worst score on each hole will be broken by skills competitions, including putting, chipping, bunker shots and driving accuracy.

"I'd love to play," said Trump, who owns several other golf courses and is a skilled golfer. "But wouldn't it be embarrassing if I won?"

January 11, 2006

 




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