Tiger the man to beat

POIPU BEACH, Hawaii – Beating Tiger Woods when he’s relaxed and having fun at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf has been nearly impossible.

Justin Leonard, Davis Love III and PGA Champion Rich Beem will try to stop Woods this week from winning his fifth straight Grand Slam title.

“I’m excited about being here again,” said Woods, the Masters and U.S. Open champion. “I always have a fantastic time here and I’m sure this year will be no exception.”

Woods said he enjoys playing the event at the Poipu Bay Golf Course on the island of Kauai because of the relaxed oceanside setting, warm weather, friendly people and the intimate atmosphere with fans.

“This is the hardest tournament to qualify for,” he said.

The $1 million, 36-hole stroke-play event begins today and is reserved for the winners of the four major championships. With Woods winning a pair of majors and British Open Ernie Els dropping out because of scheduling conflicts, Leonard and Love were able to slip in because of their standing on the major championship points list.

Beem is making his first appearance.

Leonard hopes to fare better this week than he did in 1997 when he finished in last place.

Woods finished in second place that year and won every following Grand Slam. He also topped the money list for the fourth straight year with $6,912,625 on the PGA Tour.

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