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Tiger Woods
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Woods to host big money millenium event

Not content to win golf tournaments, Tiger Woods will ring in 2000 by hosting the Williams World Challenge, a $3.5 million limited-field tournament. The Tiger Woods Foundation and The Williams Companies will jointly sponsor and host the event.

The 72-hole, stroke-play event will be played at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. The event will feature 12 of the world's top golfers -- the top 10 available from the Official World Golf Ranking and two players selected by the Foundation's board of directors. The winner will receive $1 million, with the last-place finisher earning $120,000.

The Top 10 list will be determined after the last official money event of the year, the American Express Championship at Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande, Spain. The current standings include Woods, David Duval, Colin Montgomerie, Davis Love III, Lee Westwood, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Payne Stewart, Nick Price and Mark O'Meara.

The Williams World Challenge begins Wednesday, December 29, 1999. Round 2 competition will be played on Thursday, December 30. The tournament will feature a celebrity pro-am on New Year's Eve, December 31, with NBC Sports coverage of the final two competitive rounds on January 1 and 2, 2000. Target Stores is a presenting sponsor of the telecast.

Teen sensation Sergio Garcia of Spain, whose final-round charge at the PGA Championship thrilled spectators and television viewers alike, is also rumored to compete. Garcia, 19, finished second to Woods at Medinah Country Club.

PGA Tour Commissioner Timothy W. Finchem said, "The Williams World Challenge will feature the top players in the Official World Golf Ranking and bring professional golf to a worldwide audience during the holiday season. It should serve as a significant fundraiser to further introduce the game to young people throughout the world."

The Tiger Woods Foundation will be the event's primary charitable recipient. A portion of the tournament's proceeds will also be used to support Target House at St. Jude's Hospital.

In making the announcement, Tiger's father Earl Woods mentioned that, given the tournament's high profile, he hopes "the next generation will take a keen interest in golf, and realize that the game teaches important life lessons. Teaching skills in addition to golf, and providing encouragement to achieve in golf and life, is what our foundation is all about. If Tiger can do it, so can they."

The Williams Companies, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based corporation, is a leading provider of traditional and leading-edge energy and communications services, and is one of the nation's largest-volume transporters of natural gas.