A Little Aloha Spirit to Start 2004

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PGA Tour (75x100)A fresh new PGA Tour season gets started in fine fashion with the playing of the Mercedes Championships at the lush and beautiful Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui.
 
Thirty one players are set to tee it up in the 2004 opener, whose field is made up of champions of each official 2003 PGA Tour event.
 
Tiger Woods will make his return to the Magic Isle after sitting out last year due to injury. The 2000 Mercedes champion will look to get it going early in his quest for what could be another tight player of the year race.
 
Nine of the top 10 ranked players in the world are in the fold this year, a stark contrast to 2003 three when just four of the top 10 teed it up. Only Padraig Harrington, currently ranked No. 8, failed to win a tour event last year to qualify.
 
Defending champion Ernie Els, who won seven times worldwide in 2003 and somehow slipped a notch in the rankings, will try and draw on the good vibes he had last year when he set a PGA Tour 72-hole scoring record in relation to par. His 31-under par total was eight shots better than runner-ups K.J. Choi and Rocco Mediate.