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Tiger encourages Annika to play more than one

5/15/2003

ALVESLOHE, Germany -- Tiger Woods not only thinks Annika Sorenstam should play next week's Colonial, he believes she needs
several chances to prove she can compete with the men.

I think it's unfortunate Vijay said that -- very unfortunate. I don't think his is a
widely-held view -- I think it's just Vijay's opinion. My message to Annika is 'just go and play.'
"

-- Tiger Woods

Vijay Singh told The Associated Press on Sunday that Sorenstam
had no business playing Colonial and that he hopes she misses the cut. He also said that on the odd chance he gets paired with her, he'd withdraw.

"I think it will be more fair to her if she could play four or
five tournaments -- then you could judge on those results," Woods
said Wednesday before playing in the Deutsche Bank Open. "I'm sure
if she did play four or five, she'd get on a roll ... In one
tournament a lot could go wrong for her.

"I think it's unfortunate Vijay said that -- very unfortunate," Woods said. "I don't think his is a
widely-held view -- I think it's just Vijay's opinion. My message to Annika is 'just go and play.' "

On Tuesday, Singh attempted to cast his remarks in a different light.

"If it was an attack on Annika at all, I would like to
apologize to her," Singh said. "I actually said if I miss the
cut, I'd rather she miss the cut as well. I hope she missed the cut
because I don't want to have a woman beat me."

Singh made his remarks to AP golf writer Doug Ferguson during an interview Sunday as he left the locker room after the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte, N.C. A review of Ferguson's notes confirmed the original version of Singh's remarks.

That came after Nick Price, the defending champion at Colonial,
said her entry in a men's event "reeks of publicity" and that she
should qualify for the tour first. Scott Hoch said he wants to see
her play well so people will realize ``how much separation there is
between us and the ladies' tour."

Woods thinks it would be a feat if Sorenstam survived the cut at
the Colonial.

"I would think it was a fantastic performance -- no doubt about
it," he said.

But Woods said that was because the long 7,080 yard Colonial
Country Club course in Fort Worth, Texas was very difficult, one
raked by thunderstorms and winds, with potentially tricky pin
placements.

Sorenstam won 13 times around the world last year, the most by a
woman in nearly 40 years. Two years ago, she became the first woman
to shoot 59.

Playing at Colonial will make her the first woman in 58 years to
compete on the tour. The last woman to do so was Babe Zaharias, who
qualified for the 1945 Los Angeles Open.

Colonial is an invitational with a limited field. Sorenstam
received one of eight sponsor's exemptions.