Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This Week in Golf

What to watch for in golf this week:
Champions Tour - The top tournament in professional golf this week is the U.S. Senior Open at Crooked Stick near Indianapolis. This course played host to the 1991 PGA Championship won by little-known alternate John Daly. Unfortunately, the schedule on the Champions Tour is horribly arranged with three of their five (I know it should only be four) coming back-to-back-to-back. Players are complaining about the lack of preparation time for what should be the most difficult event of the year beginning three days after the completion of the Senior British Open. Expect the usual suspects to be near the top of the leaderboard on the weekend. Fred Funk, Bernhard Langer, Loren Roberts, and Jay Hass seem to contend each week. Michael Allen, the '09 Senior PGA champion, is also having an outstanding year, and I predict he will make a run at a second major. My pick to win this week, though, is the Shark, Greg Norman. Crooked Stick is a longer track for the seniors at over 7,300 yards. So, the shining star, Tom Watson, will probably take a backseat to the younger boys, especially following a whirlwind couple of weeks in Great Britain. Tom Lehman is my sleeper pick appearing in his first U.S. Senior Open. The action can be caught on NBC.

PGA Tour - The Buick Open will be played this week, possibly for the final time. Tiger is in the field, and is, therefore, the favorite to win at a course he enjoys. Warwick Hills is located near Flint, Michigan, the poster child for recession-ridden Rust Belt communities for the past 30 years. With GM announcing that it will end sponsorship of this event next year, I highly doubt another sponsor will pick up the tournament at such a location. Jim Furyk is playing this week as well. He is surprisingly without a win since repeating at the Canadian Open in 2007. Furyk won the Buick Open in 2003, and he usually has a solid showing here. You must go low at Warwick Hills in order to compete, and no one is capable of going lower than Mark Calcavecchia, who birdied nine consecutive holes last week for a PGA Tour record. My sleeper pick is the lovable (and rotund) 49-year-old. CBS will carry coverage of the Buick Open.

LPGA Tour - The Women's British Open is also on tap for this weekend. The ladies (many of whom have very similarly short Asian names) are playing Royal Lytham & St. Annes, the site of ten Open Championships including Bobby Jones's first Claret Jug. My interest in this tour is usually limited to the Americans and Lorena Ochoa. Lorena is struggling this year, but she is my pick to have a breakthrough at the British and win. Cristie Kerr will be out to avenge her close call at the U.S. Open a few weeks ago. My sleeper pick will be Natalie Gulbis, because who wouldn't want to see her win. But I will also be cheering for the British bomber Laura Davies. ABC Sports still presents the R&A championship.

Mike Small - Congrats on yet another great tournament early this week at the Illinois Open at Hawthorn Woods CC. He finished runner-up for the second consecutive year. He lost in a playoff to an amateur from Rockford, Brad Benjamin. Small has won the event four other times. The U of I golf coach also won his second PGA Professionals Championship earlier this year in New Mexico. So Mike is exempt for the PGA Championship at Hazeltine in a few weeks.

No comments:

Post a Comment

[Valid Atom 1.0]