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Woods, Duval, O'Meara on tee for Match Play; Event carries pressure of single elimination


CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Tiger Woods, David Duval and Mark O'Meara spent yesterday practicing together, preparing for a tournament that all three would love to win.

The highly anticipated Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship begins today, bringing the world's best golfers together in a single-elimination format that will be both entertaining and unpredictable.

There will be pressure from the opening tee shot. Half of the 64 players at La Costa Resort and Spa will be eliminated by tonight. Meanwhile, the road to Saturday's final four, followed by a 36-hole championship match on Sunday, will force the champion to win six matches in five days against some of the world's best players.

"I'm excited about playing match play again, something I always look forward to," said Woods, the No. 1-seeded player, who will face Nick Faldo, the six-time major winner but seeded No. 64, in perhaps the most anticipated opening-round pairing. "I love the thrill of playing one-on-one. It's a chance to put your skills up against one person, head-to-head. Most sports, that's the way it works. We don't get that chance very often."

Some of the other compelling first-round matches include Tom Watson vs. Bob Tway, Ernie Els vs. Paul Azinger, Steve Elkington vs. Steve Jones and Colin Montgomerie vs. Craig Stadler.

Pub Date: 2/24/99

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