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Wods, Duval begin title defense

Nov. 13, 2001 at 8:12 PM   |   Comments

GOTEMBA, Japan, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods and David Duval of the United States will be out to defend their title at the World Golf Championships-EMC World Cup at the Taiheiyo Club, which begins Thursday (Wednesday night in the United States).

Ranked first and third in the world, respectively, Woods and Duval form one of 24 international teams competing this week.

A year ago, the American duo overcame host Argentina, which was represented by European Tour members Angel Cabrera and Eduardo Romero, to win the inaugural event.

Among those trying to unseat Woods and Duval are 30 European Tour members who combined for 21 titles this season.

The South African squad includes reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and two-time U.S. Open winner Ernie Els.

Another major champion in the field is Fiji's Vijay Singh, who was made an honorary member of the European Tour in May. A two-time Masters champion, Singh was winless on the PGA Tour this year but finished fourth on the money list with more than $3.4 million.

Singh, who captured the Malaysian Open and Singapore Masters earlier this year, will team this weekend with Dinesh Chand.

Thomas Bjorn, a member of the European Ryder Cup team who held off Woods at the Dubai Desert Classic in March, will partner with Soren Hansen for Denmark.

Spain will be represented by 21-year-old Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez. Garcia enjoyed a breakthough PGA season, winning his first two tournaments and finishing sixth on the money list with just under $3 million.

The World Cup is the fourth event in this year's World Golf Championships and the third since the September 11 terrorist attacks. Its predecessor, the World Cup of Golf, began in 1953.

In 1999, Woods and Mark O'Meara captured the final World Cup of Golf in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Woods and Duval also have represented the United States in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup. Both are members of the Ryder Cup team that play next year in Europe.

Woods won the last of his five 2001 titles at the NEC Invitational in late August. He tied for 13th at the season-ending Tour Championship.

Duval broke through for his first major win at the British Open in June, but that was his lone victory of the year. He had seven top-10 finishes and was eighth on the money list.

The winning team will share $1 million, which represents one-third of the total purse.

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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