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Even before Ryder Cup, life of Riley was good
by Associated Press

PEBBLE BEACH, California (AP) - U.S. Ryder Cup team member Jay Haas and U.S. Senior Open champion Peter Jacobsen will tee it up with golf champions and aspiring players at the inaugural First Tee Open.

Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Gary Player and 48 of the top 50 Champions Tour money leaders will compete in the 54-hole event with 78 juniors and 156 amateurs.

Fifty-eight boys and 20 girls made it through qualifying tournaments and interview evaluations to participate in the $2 million pro event that begins Friday at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Bayonet Golf Course. The tournament will include pro, pro-junior (gross) and best-ball foursome scores.

Haas, who first played in the Ryder Cup in 1983, was named to this year's team by captain Hal Sutton. The U.S. team will compete against Europeans later this month at Oakland Hills near Detroit.

"All of us somewhere along the line had someone or a group or an association that affected us while we were growing up," Haas said. "But to see the looks in the younger players' eyes, it's great.

"They're of the Tiger (Woods) and Phil (Mickelson) generation now. But it's great that they get to know us and we get to know them."

While rotating between the PGA Tour and Champions Tour this season, Haas is enjoying one of his most consistent years. He finished second at the Senior PGA Championship, tied for third at the U.S. Senior Open and tied for ninth at the U.S. Open.

Palmer, who will turn 75 on Sept. 10, will be playing in just his eighth tournament this season.

Palmer, Clint Eastwood, Peter Ueberroth and Richard Ferris have been principal owners of the Pebble Beach Company since 1999. Palmer hasn't played in a tournament on the course he partially owns since the 1996 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Jacobsen claimed the U.S. Senior Open on Aug. 1, the first major title of his nearly 30-year career. Craig Stadler, who leads the Champions Tour money list, is also in the field.

Paula Creamer, 17, of Pleasanton, California, who tied Michelle Wie of Honolulu, as the low amateur at the U.S. Women's Open, will be among the youth entrants.

The top 22 pro-junior teams and top 10 amateur teams will advance to Sunday's final round at Pebble Beach. The pro winner earns $300,000.


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