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Crowds of more than 30,000 are expected to line the fairways at St. Andrews to watch the unique exhibition. (Getty Images)

Woods to join 27 other past champions in pre-Open exhibition for charity

On the day before the Open Championship tees off, Tiger Woods will be among the 28 living champions who will participate in the four-hole Champions Challenge to raise money for charity and says thanks to their fans.

ST. ANDREWS, England (PA Sports) -- The four-hole Champions Challenge on the eve of the Open Championship at St Andrews in July will feature 28 of the 32 former winners invited to play.

Jack Nicklaus, Nick Price, Johnny Miller and Kel Nagle -- at 89 the oldest living champion -- are the four who won't be present.

Crowds of more than 30,000 are expected to line the fairways to watch the event, and the highlight should be Seve Ballesteros on his return to the scene of his 1984 victory 21 months after he collapsed and was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Ballesteros, who has since undergone four operations and chemotherapy, was the first to confirm his appearance, although he won't compete in the Open itself.

"I am happy and looking forward to playing the Champions Challenge," he said. "I think I can do very well and say thank you to all my fans at St. Andrews, where I have many great memories."

Tiger Woods, the current world No. 1 and winner of the last two Opens at St. Andrews, has also confirmed that he will be taking his place.

"We're very pleased that there will be such a distinguished and full field for this special occasion," said Royal and Ancient Chief Executive Peter Dawson.

"We have six more Open champions taking part in this special celebration than there were a decade ago at the Millennium Open," he added. "It's sure to be a wonderful celebration befitting the 150th anniversary of golf's oldest major."

Seven teams of four will compete for a prize of £50,000 (about $72,000), which will be donated to a charity of the winning team's choice. The best individual score per team on each hole will count. In the event of a tie, the team with the highest average age will prevail.

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