Tiger in Search of Hawaiian 3-Peat
The Grand Slam fields the past season's four major winners. But since Tiger won three of the four major titles (U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship), a pair of alternates were selected based on a points system in accordance to player finishes in the four majors.
Originally, Ernie Els, who finished runner-up in three of the four majors this year, was scheduled to compete. However, the South African declined the tournament invitation, citing a scheduling conflict.
Woods is making his fourth consecutive appearance in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. He's the two-time defending champion, winning both titles in a match-play format. Last year, Tiger defeated Davis Love III 3-and-2 in the finals.
If Woods is to accomplish a three-peat, he'll have to overcome not only his three opponents, but also a bout of jet lag.
In less than four weeks, Tiger has played in Atlanta, Spain, England, Thailand and now Hawaii. He was scheduled to arrive in the Aloha State Monday, but didn't touch down until 5:20am local time on Tuesday - less than four hours before his tee time.
A year ago, Woods was in a similar situation. He arrived just before teeing off, worked out, and then won the event.
Tiger is trying to add to a season that includes three major victories, over $9 million in official earnings and 10 worldwide wins. This week's purse is $1 million, with the winner collecting $400,000.
This will be Singh's second Grand Slam appearance. He finished runner-up to Tiger in 1998. Lehman is also making his sophomore start at this event. He won in his maiden appearance in 1996.
Lehman qualified for this year's Grand Slam by finishing sixth at the Masters, tied for 23rd at the U.S. Open and tied for fourth at the British Open. He withdrew from the PGA Championship.
As for Azinger, the 1993 PGA Champion tied for 28th at the Masters, tied for 12th at the U.S. Open, tied for seventh at the British Open and tied for 24th at the PGA Championship.
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Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.