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Mercedes Field Converge on Kapalua

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Thirty-three professionals will tee it up when the Mercedes Championships begins play Thursday at Kapalua, Hawaii.
 
Tiger Woods, who won nine PGA Tour events last year, will head the field. Only those who won a tournament in 2000 are entered.
 
For the third straight year, the tournament will be contested over the Kapulua Plantation Course. Prior to 1999, the event was played for 30 years at La Costa in Southern California. It originally began in Las Vegas, Nev., in 1953, when Al Besselink was the winner.
 
David Duval, who will again be participating, won the tournament by nine strokes at the 1999 Mercedes. It was the widest margin of victory until Woods won the U.S. Open last year by 15 strokes.
 
Last year Woods and Ernie Els put on one of the most dramatic finishes ever. Woods eventually won on the third playoff hole with a birdie.
 
Darren Clarke of Ireland is the only eligible player expected to miss the Mercedes. Clarke won the World Match Play Championships last year.
 
In addition to Woods, Duval and Els, other multiple winners who will be in attendance are Phil Mickelson, who won four times; and Jesper Parnevik, Hal Sutton, Robert Allenby and Notah Begay III, who won twice. Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk, Justin Leonard, Loren Roberts, Vijay Singh and Rocco Mediate are among the list of others who will start Thursday.
 
The winner will receive $630,000 for first place in addition to a 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Sport.