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Kraft Nabisco Championship

Lincicome defends

What: Kraft Nabisco Championship

When/where: Today-Sunday; Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Purse: $2 million (winner's share $300,000)

TV: Today-Friday, 5-7 p.m., ESPN2; Saturday, 7-9 p.m., ESPN2; Sunday, 3-6 p.m., Ch. 10

Defending champion: Brittany Lincicome

Notes: This is the first major championship of the LPGA season. Seminole's Lincicome, above, won last year after making eagle on No. 18 for a final-round 69 and a one shot win over Kristy McPherson and Cristie Kerr.

A little Tiger

The Augusta National Golf Club, which has the fewest broadcast hours and the highest television ratings of any major golf tournament, has not given ESPN a free hand to show all of Tiger Woods' shots live in his post-scandal return at the Masters. No one would expect the conservative club to accommodate the enhanced interest in Woods that much. But the club has budged a bit. On Monday, the club said ESPN would be able to break into its morning and afternoon programming to show Woods and his group's first-round tee shots live from the first hole. That will be the extent of the Woods exemption offered to ESPN. No second shots. No chips. No putts. Just the tee shot. A few seconds and that is all. Depending on Woods' tee time, it could be a long time before viewers see anything else live, if at all. That is because the Masters has long believed that less is more, so a lot of the action takes place before live coverage starts. If Woods tees off at 1:52 p.m. next Thursday, as he did in last year's first round, some of his shots will be seen live during ESPN's 4-7:30 p.m. time slot. If he has a morning tee time, like last year's 10:45 a.m. second-round time, nothing he does after his first tee shot will be shown live. Tee times will be announced Tuesday.

Top 50 for Masters

K.J. Choi moved into the top 50 in the world with his second-place finish at the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor two weeks ago. He stayed in the top 50 after a tie for 17th at Bay Hill in Orlando last week, which means he will play in the Masters next week. The top 50 in the World Golf Ranking on Monday gain entrance to Augusta. Other players to slip into the top 50 during the last week: Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Alvaro Quiros and Thongchai Jaidee. The last chance for a new player to get into the field is if somebody not already qualified wins this week's Houston Open.

Innisbrook event

Innisbrook hosts the 15th annual Easter Junior Classic on Saturday and Sunday. It is considered one of the top junior tournaments, with 126 players from 18 countries competing. The tournament will be played on the Island Course in Palm Harbor.

Kraft Nabisco Championship 03/31/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 9:35pm]
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