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Stars line up for 25th Skins Game

Masters winner Zach Johnson, defending champion Stephen Ames, long-hitting Brett Wetterich and all-time money leader Fred Couples play this weekend in the 25th anniversary Skins Game.

Celebrity course at Indian Wells Golf Resort will be the site of the one million-dollar showdown Saturday and Sunday as Americans Johnson and Wetterich make Skins Game debuts and Canada's Ames tries to equal his triumphant debut.

Johnson finished eighth on the US PGA season money list with 3.9 million dollars after his first major triumph came at Augusta National last April.

Ames sank a three-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole to capture eight skins worth 590,000 dollars on the final day last year to wrest the title from US rivals Couples, Fred Funk and John Daly.

Ames, who was 31st on the money list with 2.1 million dollars, won his third career tour event this year and threatened in two majors, fasing to 10th in the final round of the US Open and playing in the final group Sunday with eventual winner Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship, firing a 76 to share 12th.

Couples, who makes his record 14th Skins Game start, won nine skins for 385,000 dollars last year but has not won the event crown since 2004. His 3.9 million dollars in career money and 86 skins are both records.

Injuries kept Couples out much of the PGA season.

Wetterich, 28th on the money list with 2.2 million dollars, was seventh in driving distance with 303 yards on the average off the tee. He finished second twice this year after his lone US tour victory last year at the Byron Nelson.


November 22, 2007

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