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Presidents Cup Golf Tourney Tees Off At Muirfield

Central Ohio today turns its attention to professional golf. The international competition, known as the Presidents Cup Golf Tournament tees off at Muirfield Village in Dublin. The Presidents Cup tournament dates to 1994. The U-S team competes for national pride against players from eleven different countries, including Zimbabwe , Paraguay, New Zealand and South Korea. PGA executive David Pillsbury says Central Ohio's support for professional golf at the annual Memorial Tournament made Columbus a clear choice to host the tournament. "Is it a marketplace where you've got fans that are sophisticated, that appreciate high quality golf, that really want to come out and watch the best players in the world and support the tournament to make it commensurate with the magnitude of the event. You want to make sure you've got 25,000 people out here enjoying the experience," says Pillsbury Muirfield has constructed 9,500 temporary grandstand seats for the tournament. 35,000 tickets to the four days of match play are sold out. Dublin mayor Tim Lecklider says even though the city has hosted the Memorial Tournament for more than 30 years, the President's Cup is a bigger deal. "But, certainly nothing on this scale in so far as we'll have the international community watching. So we're looking forward to that," says Lecklider. An estimated 1,800 international visitors are already in town to cheer their golfers. The Columbus Sports Commission projects $50-million in economic impact from the golf tournament. The PGA's Pillsbury says that might be a lowball estimate. "So, in Melbourne Australia for example the economic impact was $70to $80 million for the week. And we would anticipate certainly for the greater Dublin Columbus marketplace it would be similar. You know we've been up here building this city for a couple of months," says Pillsbury. The first golfers tee off this morning at 11:30. Play continues through Sunday. (WOSU's Kevin Petrilla contributed to this story.)