Tiger star turn as top golfers gather for charity pro-am

TIGER WOODS and a whole host of other US Tour players were due at Shannon Airport this morning ahead of the JP McManus pro-am at Adare Manor Golf Hotel and Resort.

The charity tournament has a shotgun start today, and tomorrow, at 8am and 1.30pm and carries a prize fund of €1 million.

Most if not all of the transAtlantic visitors were coming straight from the Western Open in Chicago. There are 31 Ryder Cup players in the field, eight American and 23 European, along with 13 major champions including New Zealander Michael Campbell, recent winner of the US Open and, of course, Woods, the Masters champion at Augusta National in April.

Woods plays at 1.30pm each day. This afternoon, he goes off the 15th tee with the Arthur French Estates team that includes Martin McAleese, husband of the President Mary McAleese, while tomorrow he lines out along with the Michael Smurfit team of Tony Smurfit, Michael Smurfit junior and Sharon Smurfit. He again starts from the 15th tee, the par 4 running right alongside the River Maigue and the palatial Manor house.

Ernie Els has made his way to Co Limerick after overseeing his two proposed new courses at Kinsale and Kilmore Quay. He’s among those off 13th at 1.30pm this afternoon with the Betdaq team of David Nagle, M.V. Magnierand Jose Alvarez and tomorrow morning goes off 17th with the St Vincent de Paul trio of Michael and Ger Nash and Con Keating.

Davis Love III is partnered today (1.30pm) by Johan Rupert, head of the Dunhill organisation, Tim Finchem, the executive director of the US PGA Tour and Herb Kohler, owner of the magnificent Whistling Straits complex in Kohler, Wisconsin.

It promises to be a memorable two days at Adare Manor where 50,000 square feet of tentage has been erected. At the end of it all, it is confidently expected that the €20 million raised at the 2000 pro-am will be exceeded by another €10 million.

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