By BRENDAN McGAIR
SMITHFIELD â€“ For the second straight year, the CVS Caremark Charity Classic features a major champion from the previous calendar year.
Jason Dufner, victor of the 2013 PGA Championship, was announced as part of the 2014 CVS field at a press conference Tuesday morning at Special Olympics Rhode Island. This will mark Dufnerâ€™s first-ever appearance at the annual event that specializes in raising money for local nonprofits.
Last yearâ€™s CVS field included Bubba Watson, who had won the 2012 Masters. The popular lefty has gone on to add a second green jacket since last June's CVS Classic.
Tournament co-hosts Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade have once again cobbled together a strong field. Besides getting a commitment from Dufner, the two Rhode Island natives were able to reel in several past CVS winners.
The CVS champs from a year ago are returning to defend the crown in Steve Stricker and Bo Van Pelt. Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson, who teamed up to capture the event in 2011, are also returning to Rhode Island Country Club.
As always, thereâ€™s a strong LPGA Tour presence. Headlining the group is 19-year-old Lexi Thompson, who will be making her third appearance at the CVS Classic. Last month she captured the first LPGA Tour major of the season, winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship by three strokes over Michelle Wie.
Julie Inkster is back for her seventh appearance at the CVS Classic while Peter Jacobson returns for the 16th consecutive year.
The rest of the field and playing partners will be announced at a later date. This yearâ€™s CVS Classic will take place June 22-24. To purchase tickets, fans can call 866-CVS-9441 or visit cvscharityclassic.com
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