TIGER plans many more returns to the desert

Tuesday, July 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) _ Tiger Woods never has played the five-day Bob Hope Classic and probably never will, given the format (three amateur partners for four rounds) and the reputation of the tournament for ridiculously low scoring.

Fans in the Coachella Valley will hardly be deprived.

Woods' deal with Disney, parent company of ABC Sports, calls for him to play in four of the next five Skins Games. He also is under contract to play prime-time exhibitions like the Battle at Bighorn for the next four years, agent Mark Steinberg said.

Woods will return to the Skins Game this year at Landmark in nearby Indio. The defending champion is Colin Montgomerie, with Sergio Garcia also expected to return. Golf World magazine reported last week that Greg Norman will fill out the foursome.

The format in the next Battle at Bighorn remain unclear.

IMG is leaning toward another alternate-shot match among generations, possibly Woods and Jack Nicklaus against Gary Player and Ernie Els if schedules can be arranged. Bighorn is under contract for one more year.