Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This Week in Golf

Arguably, three other events being staged throughout the world this week will be larger than the PGA Tour's Viking Challenge in Mississippi. Here is the lineup:

European Tour - The Volvo World Match Play Championship has moved to the Mediterranean coast of Spain this year. When HSBC abandoned its contract in 2007, the tournament had to find a new title sponsor for a big purse event. The organizers could not find a sponsor until Volvo committed this year. In the shake-up, they moved from the traditional site at Wentworth in London to Costa del Sol. The Match Play Championship has a long history of strong fields, and this year is no exception. Sixteen players, including five of the top 11 in the world, will compete for a 750,000 euro grand prize. The big story in Spain this week is world number four Paul Casey's return to the game after over two months off while recovering from a torn rib muscle. The players have been split in four groups of round robin play for the first two days. The hottest players will advance. However, this new format will require the champion to play seven times for a potential of 126 holes over four days. This grueling design is not the type of event I would choose to make a comeback at. Therefore, my pick to win in Spain is Lee Westwood. He has been playing solid golf this year, and he looks to have the weakest competition based on his grouping. My sleeper pick is world number ten Sergio Garcia. He was runner-up last week in Europe, and he is playing in his home country. He is often in contention, but he rarely executes well enough for the W. Coverage of this tournament with past champions like Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Irwin, Norman, and Els will be on the Golf Channel.

European Tour - Oddly enough, the European Tour is staging two major sanctioned events this week. The other active top ten players in the world will be in Singapore for the Barclays Singapore Open. Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington headline this field in southeast Asia, but Ogilvy, Els, Clarke, Scott, Jimenez, and Rose will also be there. Many of the top European players are in this field to garner more points in the European Tour's Race to Dubai to be played later in November. Phil played Singapore last year too, and I hope to see him build on his TOUR Championship win heading into the HSBC Champions tournament next week in Shanghai with Tiger in the field. Phil is my pick to win Singpore, and my sleeper will be Kiwi youngster Danny Lee. Singapore would be a strong win for this 19 year old, but after Ricky Fowler's showing in Phoenix last week and Ryo Ishikawa's and Rory McIlroy's year, I think it would be fitting. The Singapore Open will also be televised on the Golf Channel.

Champions Tour - The Charles Schwab Cup Championship concludes the Senior Tour season this week. The points in the Schwab Cup competition are doubled for the finale, and four players stand a mathematical chance to win the $1 million prize for the season long race. Loren Roberts currently leads with Fred Funk, Bernhard Langer, and Jay Hass on his heels in that order. Sonoma Golf Club in Northern California will host the top 30 seniors, a list that includes Tom Watson, Tom Lehman, Tom Kite, Nick Price, and Mark O'Meara. The winner of the Chalres Schwab Cup will more than likely be the money list winner and Player of the Year. My pick is Loren Roberts. The Boss of the Moss has been playing well all year. Jay Hass has been extremely hot for the past month, but at 55 years old, he surely cannot keep it up for yet another week. My sleeper will be a top ten finisher in Houston a couple weeks ago, Tom Lehman. Lehman made the cut last week in a regular Tour event. The Golf Channel will be busy this week also broadcasting this tournament.

PGA Tour - The Fall Series on the PGA Tour travels just north of Jackson, Mississippi this week for the Viking Classic at Annandale. For over thirty years now the Mississippi stop has been one of, if not, the weakest events of the year. This year, I am once again impressed by the names another Fall Series event has drawn. David Toms, David Duval, John Daly, Stuart Appleby, Chris DiMarco, and Chad Campbell will all be present for the tournament with the smallest purse of any non-opposite week events. I'd really like to see Lumpy win in Mississippi. The Tim Herron has not won in three years, but this Golden Gopher can still play. My sleeper (as if Herron is not) will be 2003 Golfer of the Year Ben Curtis. The NFL billboard has not been seen since last year's PGA Championship battle, and a win here could be a nice building block to get his confidence back. The Golf Channel will complete the grand slam this week by also bringing you the Viking Classic. This week is what the Golf Channel was made for. I just hope Brandel Chamblee stops trying to be a hybrid between Johnny Miller and Terry Bradshaw. Brandel - stop the Rogaine, and pleeeease go back to being Brandel.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Steve! Who knew there could be so much golf in the Northern Hemosphere during late October?

    You should write an article sometime explaining how all of these tours are connected, what significance they each hold and what are the rules about who plays where and when... just an idea.


[Valid Atom 1.0]