Golf: Snedeker, Bradley, Dufner highlight Franklin Templeton Shootout field

Brendan Steele, left, and Keegan Bradley are awarded the trophy after winning the Franklin Templeton Shootout on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, at the Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS // Buy this photo

Brendan Steele, left, and Keegan Bradley are awarded the trophy after winning the Franklin Templeton Shootout on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, at the Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples.

Greg Norman announces Shootout field

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AT A GLANCE

What: Franklin Templeton Shootout

When: Dec. 5-9

Where: Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort

Purse: $3 million

Field: (18 of 24 announced Tuesday) Keegan Bradley, Stewart Cink, Jason Dufner, Rickie Fowler, Fredrik Jacobson, Dustin Johnson, Jerry Kelly, Justin Leonard, Greg Norman, Sean O’Hair, Kenny Perry, Ian Poulter, Vijay Singh, Brandt Snedeker, Brendan Steele, Steve Stricker, Scott Verplank, Mike Weir

Schedule: Wednesday, Dec. 5, pro-am (shamble), tee times, 8-10:20 a.m., gates open, 7 a.m.; Thursday, Dec. 6, pro-am (best ball), tee times 8-10:20 a.m., gates open, 7 a.m.; Friday, Dec. 7, first round (modified alternate shot), tee times, 10-11 a.m., gates open, 9 a.m.; Arthrex Family Clinic hosted by Greg Norman, 4 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 8, Franklin Templeton Shootout 5K, 7 a.m.; second round (better ball), tee times, 10:15-11:30 a.m., gates open, 9:15 a.m.; Sunday, Dec. 9, tee times, 8:30-9:45 a.m., gates open, 7:30 a.m.

TV: Golf Channel, 3-6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7; NBC, 4-6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8; NBC, Sunday, Dec. 9, 3 to 6 p.m.

Tickets: Players Pass, which includes weekly ticket, 56 vouchers to 14 courses on sale now. Other ticket packages on sale Oct. 1.

Info: www.franklintempletonshootout.com, 888-66-SHARK, 254-9770

How good is this year’s Franklin Templeton Shootout field? There are two sets of defending champions.

Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele are back from last year, and 2010 champions Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter are returning to Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort after missing last year’s tournament.

Host Greg Norman announced 18 of the PGA Tour event’s 24 players Tuesday. The remaining six should be revealed on or around Oct. 5, with the 12 two-man pairings being announced later in October.

This will be the 12th year for the 24-year-old tournament to be played in Naples. Tickets go on sale Oct. 1, although the Players Pass, which includes a weeklong ticket and 56 vouchers to play 14 courses at discounted fees, already is available.

Johnson missed last year’s tournament because of a friend’s wedding, and Poulter joined many European Tour members who normally played in the Shootout to compete in that tour’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Championship.

“These guys regretted missing it last year,” Norman said. “They wanted to play last year. It’s a commitment they probably made earlier than anybody, saying we’ll be back the following year. I think it’s fantastic.”

Brandt Snedeker, who won the Tour Championship to take the FedEx Cup and $11.4 million Sunday, also is in the field. He was in 2011, but withdrew to have hip surgery.

“Eleven million dollars in four rounds of golf is pretty good,” Norman said with a chuckle. “It kind of eclipses my heyday in my golf career. I remember breaking $1 million for a year and everybody looked at me like I was crazy — ridiculously rich. ... I know (tournament director) Taylor (Ives) was pulling for him. I was pulling for him. Everybody was pulling for him because he’s a great addition.”

Ives said the tournament’s Military Appreciation program would return, with those serving or veterans showing valid identification at the gate getting in free. The Shootout 5k also is back for its fourth year, with advance registration $25 for adults or $10 for children 10 and under on the tournament website for the 7 a.m. race on Saturday, Dec. 8.

Norman said discussions are ongoing with title sponsor Franklin Templeton Investments, which stepped back in that role in 2011 and signed a two-year deal. The company was title sponsor from 1992-2005.

Norman also took a moment during his press conference to talk about longtime tee announcer Joe Klimas, who died of cancer last month.

Six players in the field are competing in this week’s Ryder Cup. Snedeker, Bradley, Johnson, Jason Dufner and Steve Stricker are playing for the U.S. team, and Scott Verplank is an assistant captain. Poulter is playing for the European team.

Seven are ranked in the world’s top 30 — Dufner (9), Snedeker (10), Stricker (12), Johnson (13), Bradley (14), Poulter (26) and Rickie Fowler (27).

Norman has played in just three tour events this year, and not since the Senior British Open in July. He will be paired with Fredrik Jacobson, who was supposed to play with Norman last year but suffered a thumb injury and had to withdraw.

“I’ll be putting the whole month of November to practice at the forefront of my schedule,” Norman said.

Norman, 57, was excited to finally add Vijay Singh to the field for the first time. The 49-year-old, with 34 PGA Tour wins including three majors, has four top-10 finishes this year.

“It’s his first time, and it’s about bloody time,” Norman said. “I’m a huge fan of Vijay’s and he’s a good friend of mine. Every year he’s always had the opportunity to come play. Every year’s (been) a bit of a conflict.”

Jerry Kelly and Stricker, who won in 2009, figure to be paired together; they have been the last four years. Stewart Cink, Justin Leonard, Sean O’Hair, two-time champion Kenny Perry and Mike Weir were the others announced Tuesday.

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