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Big names announced for Tiger Woods event
Woods to host big money millenium event

Big names announced for Tiger Woods event

One problem in staging a New Year's golf tournament -- even when you're Tiger Woods -- might be finding participants in the pro-am.

"We're contacting athletes and celebrities right now, and we've got a few, but we're not going to release all the names until we get everybody confirmed," Woods said today at a news conference for the inaugural Williams World Challenge at Grayhawk Golf Club.

The 72-hole event runs from Dec. 29-Jan. 2, with the Pro-Am on Dec. 31 -- a buffer between the second and third rounds. It is a day when many of the world's rich and famous will be tempted to celebrate New Year's Eve at far-flung sites.

Woods said he wasn't among them.

"Maybe I'm just too much of a realist, but I don't think anything's going to really change from one day to the next,'' he said. "I don't think your life is going to change that dramatically just because a calendar year falls by."

But he acknowledged that the opportunity to crown the first golf champion of 2000 was too attractive to pass up, even though the PGA Tour offered other dates.

"Whoever wins this event is going to be the first person to win a tournament into the new millennium," said Woods, the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking. "And hopefully that will either kick-start their career or maybe add a little emphasis of help them start playing better or continue playing better, whatever."

The $3.5 million event offers a $1 million first prize -- enough to attract 11 of the top 22 players in the world with one at-large invitation still to be announced.

The entries of Davis Love III (ranked fourth in the world), Justin Leonard (13th), Hal Sutton (14th), and John Huston (16th) were confirmed earlier in the day. The 12-man field also includes top 10 players David Duval (2nd), Vijay Singh (8th), Phil Mickelson (9th), and Mark O'Meara (10th) as well as Sergio Garcia (11th) and Tom Lehman (22nd).

Although the tournament is organized by his Tiger Woods Foundation, Woods, who today won the 1999 Jack Nicklaus Trophy as the PGA Tour's Player of the Year after winning eight tournaments, had no plans to be a gracious host.

"From my own selfish standpoint, it's always nice to be able to play against, compete and hopefully win a tournament against the best players in the world, and that's what we have coming," he said.