Sorenstam Wie to Play Pro-Am

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The Mercedes Championships has 34 groups for the Wednesday pro-am, but only 30 players are in the winners-only field at Kapalua.
 
In these cases, the tournament asks other pros to fill in.
 
This year, they turned to Olin Browne, Fred Funk, Billy Andrade - and Annika Sorenstam.
 
Sorenstam, the first woman in 58 years on the PGA Tour when she play at the Colonial last year, has said she won't play on the tour again, except for special events, such as the Skins Game.
 
'I've heard more excitement about a Wednesday pro-am than I have in a long time,' Davis Love III said.
 
Michelle Wie also is playing as an amateur. She also played in the pro-am last year.
 
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NEW LOOK:@ Charles Howell III will be sporting a new look this year - on his rail-thin body, and maybe in his bag.
 
Howell ended his two-year relationship with Swedish designer J. Lindeberg, and signed a multiyear clothing deal with Japanese-based Sanei over the weekend.
 
The clothes are said to be a little more classic in style, although Howell won't exactly blend in with the crowd.
 
As for the clubs?
 
Callaway Golf, the new owners of Hogan by way of its Top-Flite Golf Co. acquisition, recently sent Howell a few sets of the Hogan irons. He makes his '04 debut next week in the Sony Open, and might put the blades in his bag, or possibly a combination of blades (for the shorter irons) and the offset Callaways (longer irons).
 
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RECOVERY WORK:@ The maintenance staff at Kapalua gets an early nominee for comeback of the year.
 
Kapalua received 13 inches of rain over the first three days of the New Year, turning the Plantation course into a river just five days before the start of the season-opening Mercedes Championships.
 
Sand that washed out of some bunkers left an 80-yard trail of silt down the fairways. Officials canceled an amateur tournament Sunday.
 
'If this was any other golf course, we'd be looking for alternative dates to play this tournament,' PGA Tour rules official Jon Brendle said.
 
By Tuesday, everything was almost back to normal. The severe elevation changes on the Plantation course helped allow the course to drain remarkably fast, and the maintenance staff went to work on the bunkers.
 
'It's gone from a bleak outlook to a very promising outlook,' tournament chairman Gary Planos said.
 
Sunshine was in the forecast the rest of the week, and Brendle said preferred lies was not even a consideration.
 
One thing became clear: The course won't play nearly has firm and fast as it did last year.
 
Ernie Els won at a record 31-under par, and the shot that had everyone talking was his 400-yard drive on the par-5 15th, which he hit to the bottom of the hill, which left him with only an 8-iron into the green.
 
During a practice round Tuesday, that wasn't the case.
 
'I didn't come close to where I was last year,' he said. 'This year, it's a lot softer. You're not going to see 390-, 400-yard drives this week.'
 
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NEW FATHER, EMPTY NEST:@ Jim Furyk has plenty of room this week at his house on the Plantation course at Kapalua, for good reason: His wife, Tabitha, is home in Florida with their newborn.
 
Tanner James Furyk was born Dec. 12, their first son and second child.
 
His wife wanted to come to Maui, but their child was too young to travel so far. Furyk will play next week in the Sony Open, then likely take as much as a month off. That means missing Pebble Beach, one of his favorite events.
 
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DIVOTS:@ Steve Flesch was looking at the pairings for the first round of the Mercedes Championships and rolled his eyes when he saw his name with Kenny Perry. 'Awwww, I don't want to play with Kenny,' Flesch moaned. 'I played with him last week and he was hitting it 50 yards by me.' Flesch and Perry are the only two players at Kapalua from Kentucky. ... Fresh off his first PGA Tour money title, Vijay Singh was seen practicing Monday and Tuesday with a regular putter. He won four times and $7.5 million last year using the belly putter. ... Scott Hoch will have to find another caddie after the Hawaii swing. His regular man on the bag, Damon Green, is leaving to caddie for Zach Johnson, the Nationwide Tour player of the year.
 
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STAT OF THE WEEK:@ The U.S. Open at Olympia Fields had only one hole - No. 12 - that ranked among the 50 toughest holes on the PGA Tour last year. The British Open (Royal St. George's) and PGA Championship (Oak Hill) each had four holes in the top 10.
 
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FINAL WORD:@ 'We get beat up for being honest, but he's the guy to beat. No argument.' - Davis Love III on Tiger Woods.
 
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