International Attracts Some Big Names

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The International 2004Castle Pines Golf Club is nothing like Whistling Straits. The International is a far cry from the PGA Championship.
 
It would seem logical that many of the top players would skip this event in preparation for the seasons final major, but once again the field is filled with notable names.
 
This probably isn't the best golf course to walk before the PGA, but it is a good place get ready for the PGA because it's a good course; I like the place and I love the format. It's a good place to warm up, said Davis Love III.
 
Love made those statements prior to the start of last years event ' before he won.
 
The win was easy for Love ' he had a 12 point margin of victory under the modified Stableford format, but the path to victory was a bit rocky, as he had to deal with rumors all week surrounding his marriage.
 
This year, Love is more at ease in his personal life, but, professionally, hes suffered a falloff from 2003.
 
The International was Loves fourth win a year ago; hes still seeking his first in 04.
 
Love has a pair of runner-up finishes this year, including a loss to Tiger Woods in the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He also has a tie for sixth in the Masters and a tie for fifth in the British Open.
 
But no wins.
 
There are, however, plenty of 2004 winners in the field this week -- 16, to be exact.
 
That list includes Ernie Els and Todd Hamilton, who is making his first start since knocking off Els in the British Open.
 
Also in attendance ' or at least scheduled to compete ' is David Duval.
 
Duval is a resident of nearby Cherry Hills Village. This tournament is special for the newly anointed Coloradan, as it is where he met his wife.
 
Duval met Colorado native Susie Persichitte, a mother of three, here ' in a restaurant, not on the golf course ' in 2003. The two married March 6.
 
Duval has played this event nine times before, finishing runner-up to David Toms in 1999. This will be only his second start of the season. After taking the first half off to try and rediscover his game, he missed the cut at the U.S. Open. He was supposed to compete at the British Open, but withdrew after the Tuesday practice round because of a bad back.
 
The modified Stableford scoring system awards 8 points for double eagle, 5 for eagle, 2 for birdie, zero for par, minus-1 for bogey and minus-3 for double bogey or worse.
 
Phil Mickelson, who is skipping the tournament for the first time as a professional, shares the 72-hole scoring record. Mickelson, in 1997, and Els, in 2000, each totaled 48 points.
 
Greg Whisman, in 1992, and Tom Purtzer, in 1997, share the 18-hole record with 20 points each.
 
Mickelson isn't the only notable long-time participant who is absent this year. Vijay Singh, who won his fourth tournament of the year last week at the Buick Open, is missing for the first time since 1997. Mike Weir and Sergio Garcia, who have each played here five times, are also not playing.
 
U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen pulled out after bruising his hip during a jet ski accident last week while on vacation. He does expect to play next week in the PGA Championship.
 
Tiger Woods has only played here twice, and not since 1999.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The International