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Mercedes - (Tiger+Phil) = Surprise?

Updated: January 4, 2006, 1:27 PM ET
By Jason Sobel
LAHAINA, Hawaii -- If you've read any of our coverage this week ... or tuned into The Golf Channel ... or paid attention to anything golf, then you've probably heard the news: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson (as well as Retief Goosen and Padraig Harrington) aren't competing at the season-opening Mercedes Championships.

To the casual fan (and even the diehards), it might come as a shock that golf's two most popular figures chose to stay away from Kapalua.

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