Woods departed from his rigid schedule to make plans to play this week in the 84 Lumber Classic. But after playing all five matches in the Ryder Cup last week, he pulled out of the tournament Monday, citing exhaustion.
Upon the announcement that Woods would be playing in this weeks 84 Lumber Classic, the second-tier tournament instantly became one of the top attractions on the late-season schedule ' and an instant sell-out.
'Were certainly moving this up to a higher level, said 84 Lumber and tournament founder Joe Hardy. I cant say well be one of the majors, but well certainly give them a run for their money.
The 84 Lumber also has a commitment from world No. 1 Vijay Singh, who knocked off Woods from the top spot three weeks ago, as well as unofficial tournament host John Daly.
Daly was believed to be the reason Woods was in the field originally. Daly decided at the last minute to play in the Deutsche Bank Championship, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. Dalys appearance was an added boost to the Labor Day event.
Hardy has offered a huge incentive to play in his event. Everyone who is in the field for next weeks World Golf Championships-American Express Championship in Ireland will be well compensated with a flight to Ireland ' for free. And Hardy, a self-made billionaire, has offered to fly four others of the players choosing. That comes out to roughly $40,000 per player.
That enticement ' as well as positive word of mouth ' has significantly boosted the field. A year ago, only one of the top 20 money winners competed. This year, there are 21 of the top 30 money earners.
Four American U.S. Ryder Cup team members are scheduled to play: Stewart Cink, Chris DiMarco, Kenny Perry and David Toms.
Its officially the fifth Pennsylvania Classic, but its just the second year that Hardy has held the reigns.
He moved the tournament to the Mystic Rock course at his own Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, where he houses and lavishes the players.
J.L. Lewis is the defending champion, having fired a final-round 10-under 62 to win by two over Stuart Appleby, Frank Lickliter and Tim Petrovic.
DiMarco won the inaugural tournament, in 2000, when it was the SEI Pennsylvania Classic.
There are just six full-field events remaining on the 2004 PGA Tour calendar, as well as the American Express and the season-ending Tour Championship.