PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The Nissan Open was
expected to focus on homegrown talent. But the spotlight now
will be on some international stars.
continue their success on American soil when the $3.7 million
event begins Thursday at the newly restored Riviera Country
The tournament lost a bit of its luster when Tiger Woods, who
grew up in Southern California, withdrew earlier this week.
Woods said he has been ill for two weeks and needs some time
away from the golf course.
The Nissan Open was Woods' first PGA Tour event which he played
as a 16-year-old amateur. It also is the only tournament he has
played at least four times as a professional without winning.
Woods settled for fifth place at last week's Buick Invitational,
an event won by Olazabal with a 7-under-par 65 in the final
Coming off a fifth-place finish two weeks ago at Pebble Beach,
Olazabal claimed his sixth career PGA Tour victory and the
$648,000 first-place prize. Olazabal, who has 22 international
victories, had not captured a PGA Tour event since the 1999
Masters -- his second career win at Augusta.
Garcia will play in his third PGA event of the year and his
first in over a month. He captured the Mercedes Open in early
January for his third career PGA title and was not in contention
the following week at the Sony Open.
Other top international stars competing this week include Darren
American John Daly has enjoyed a career revival and will try to
close in on a spot in the Masters this week. While winless
since the 1995 British Open, Daly has finished fourth in his
last two PGA starts. He is No. 40 in the world rankings with
the top 50 after the Honda Classic from March 7-10 earning a
trip to Augusta.
The defending champion is Australia's Robert Allenby, who won a
six-man playoff, tying the PGA record for most players in extra
holes. Allenby won by hitting a 3-wood in driving rain to set
up a five-foot birdie putt.
The last repeat winner was Corey Pavin in 1994-95.
The par-71, 6,987-yard course has been returned to its original
design by lengthening holes, enlarging several greens and adding