The second season begins with this weeks World Golf Championships-World Cup at The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk and 1997 British Open winner Justin Leonard will lead the favored Americans in the four-day competition. The two will then head to George, South Africa for next weeks Presidents Cup.
Next weeks event has had a direct effect on this weeks team competition.
Most of the World Cup teams are determined in accordance to the Official World Golf Ranking. The top-ranked players are asked to represent their respective countries.
Tiger Woods (No. 1) and Davis Love III (No. 4) each declined, leaving Jim Furyk (No. 5) as the highest-ranked American to accept the invitation.
Kenny Perry (No. 8), David Toms (No. 9), and Phil Mickelson (No. 13) also opted not to compete. Leonard is currently ranked 16th in the world.
All of the Americans who decided not to play this week are on the U.S. Presidents Cup Team.
Nick Price of Zimbabwe, Canadas Mike Weir and Vijay Singh of Fuji ' all members of the International Team ' also decided to take the week off and ready themselves for the Presidents Cup.
Consequently, their countries are not represented in Kiawah Island. They have been replaced by teams from France, Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago.
South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen teamed to win in 2001. The two International Team members are not back this year and instead have been replaced by countrymen Rory Sabbatini and Trevor Immelman, who are not competing in South Africa next week.
Furyk and Leonard arent the only Presidents Cup members -- just the lone Americans -- on hand this week: Stuart Appleby and Stephen Leaney will represent Australia; K.J. Choi will play for Korea; Stephen Ames will do the same for Trinidad & Tobago.
In all, there are 24 two-man teams vying for the title this week. Eighteen teams are comprised of top players from the Official World Golf Ranking, while the other six teams made their ways through qualifiers.
This is the 49th playing of this competition and the fourth time it has been contested as a WGC event.
The U.S. has won on 23 occasions. They last did so in 2000, when Tiger Woods and David Duval prevailed in Argentina.
Japans Shigeki Maruyama and Toshi Izawa are the defending champions. They finished at 36 under last year; two clear of Americans Mickelson and Toms, who double bogeyed the final hole.
Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley are playing together for the seventh consecutive year. The Irishmen won in 1997 at Kiawah Island, the last time the event was held in the U.S.
The teams will play a Four-ball format (alternate shot) Thursday and Saturday, and Foursomes (better-ball) Friday and Sunday.
These are the 2003 World Cup teams:
Argentina (Eduardo Romero/Angel Cabrera)
Australia (Stuart Appleby/ Stephen Leaney)
Chile (Felipe Aguilar/Roy Mackenzie)
Denmark (Thomas Bjorn/Soren Kjeldsen)
England (Paul Casey/Justin Rose)
France (Thomas Levet/Raphael Jacquelin)
Germany (Alex Cejka/Marcel Siem)
Hong Kong (Derek Fung/James Stewart)
India (Digvijay Singh/Gaurav Ghei)
Ireland (Padraig Harrington/Paul McGinley)
Japan (Shigeki Maruyama/Hidemichi Tanaka)
Korea (K.J. Choi/S.K. Ho)
Mexico (Alejandro Quiroz/Antonio Maldonado)
Myanmar (Kyi Hla Han/Aung Win)
New Zealand (Michael Campbell/David Smail)
Paraguay (Carlos Franco/Marco Ruiz)
Scotland (Paul Lawrie/Alastair Forsyth)
South Africa (Trevor Immelman/Rory Sabbatini)
Spain (Ignacio Garrido/Miguel Angel Jimenez)
Sweden (Fredrik Jacobson/Niclas Fasth)
Thailand (Jamnian Chitprasong/Pornsakon Tipsanit)
Trinidad & Tobago (Stephen Ames/Robert Ames)
United States (Jim Furyk/Justin Leonard)
Wales (Phillip Price/Bradley Dredge)