Wed, Nov 22, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Woods, Furyk set to face off in Grand Slam of Golf

WHO'S NO. 1?While Tiger won the PGA and the British Open this year, he says that the 'unbelievable run' put up by his compatriot could make him the Poipu favorite


Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk can't agree on who will win the Grand Slam of Golf.

Woods, the world's No. 1 golfer and winner of the British Open and PGA Championship this season, considers Furyk the one to beat.

"From May on, Jim's been on one unbelievable run," Woods said when asked the favorite in the exclusive four-man event reserved for the year's major winners.

The 36-hole tournament was scheduled to begin yesterday.

"I'm one-for-one, but Tiger's something like six-for-seven," said Furyk, a part-time Hawaii resident who's undefeated at Poipu, where he won in 2003.

"Am I the favorite? I'd have to say, with the best player in the world, no," he said.

Woods has won a record six straight times in seven tries. He won every year from 1998 through 2002 and again last year. He was runner-up to Ernie Els in 1997.

Woods and Furyk, who finished a career-best second on the money list, are joined by US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia and 2003 Masters winners Mike Weir of Canada.

With Woods claiming two majors this year, Furyk earned his second invite to Kauai based on his two wins and a tour-leading 11 top-five finishes. Weir, the 2003 Masters winner, replaced Phil Mickelson.

Ogilvy is the only player making his Grand Slam debut.

"This is my first time here, but you only have to beat three guys," Ogilvy said.

The only problem is that one of those guys is named Tiger.

Championship banners featuring Woods wearing a floral lei and a wide grin line the walkway from the clubhouse to the first tee at the oceanside course.

"Over the years, I've always felt comfortable playing here," Woods said. "I don't know why that is. I seemed to have shot some pretty low scores around here."

Last year, he closed play with an 8-under 64 to win by seven strokes over Mickelson, despite losing 2.7kg because of a stomach virus and dropping out of the pro-am.

Woods' two major wins this year give him 12 in his career, second only to Jack Nicklaus' 18. He also has a string of six straight tour wins heading into next year.

Weir is the only member of the foursome without a tour victory this season. The last winless player to play in the Grand Slam was Davis Love III in 2002.

"In 2003, I came over here and had a really good time and didn't take it really seriously," Weir said. "I'm still having fun over here, but I want to get two good rounds under my belt and kind of go in with a good mind-set for next year."

Weir said he's not looking for payback against Ogilvy.

Ogilvy won the Accenture Match Play Championship after rallying from 4-down with four to play in the third round against Weir.

They faced off in a playoff with Ogilvy winning with an eagle-3 on the 21st hole.

It was winning the U.S Open at Winged Foot, however, that made Ogilvy a hero in his native Australia and changed his life.

"I can't fly under the radar at a golf tournament like I used to do," he said. "I used to be able to turn out for a golf tournament and no one would notice I was there."

All four players will go home a little richer. The winner of the Grand Slam will take home US$500,000, with the fourth-place finisher earning US$200,000.

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