|Buick Open - June 23, 2008
Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club
Grand Blanc, MI
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,127
FedExCup Points: 25,000Winner: 4,500
Purse: $5,000,000Winner: $900,000
2007 Champion: Brian Bateman (273, -15)
Buick Open Notes
Brian Bateman, the 2007 Buick Open winner, returns this week to defend the title he won in dramatic fashion with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole. Bateman was one of 12 players to claim his first PGA TOUR title in 2007. This season, six players — Brian Gay (Mayakoba Golf Classic), Greg Kraft (Puerto Rico Open), Andres Romero (Zurich Classic of New Orleans), Johnson Wagner (Shell Houston Open), Anthony Kim (Wachovia Championship) and Ryuji Imada (AT&T Classic) — are first-time winners.
In the history of the Buick Open, there have been 13 players in their 20s win this event. The first to do it was Billy Casper in 1958, with Tiger Woods, at 26 years, 7 months, 12 days, the last. Woods won in 2002.
In 1958, Buick became the first corporate sponsor of the PGA TOUR, a relationship that continues today. On Wednesday, June 25, Buick will be hosting a ceremony to commemorate its 50th year of the Buick Open. Numerous people associated with the event, including PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, 2007 Buick Open champion Brian Bateman and 1958 Buick Open champion Billy Casper are expected to be on hand.
In 2007, Brian Bateman became the first Buick Open champion to win with a birdie on the final hole since Rocco Mediate did it in 2000.
Jim Furyk tied for fifth last year to record his eighth career top-10 at the Buick Open. Furyk’s eight is a tournament record, one better than the seven recorded by Julius Boros and Tiger Woods. For more on Furyk's play at the Buick Open, click on PGA TOUR Other News.
A total of five former Buick Open champions finished in the top 10 in 2007. They were Justin Leonard and Woody Austin (tied for second), Jim Furyk and Scott Verplank (tied for fifth) and Kenny Perry (tied for 10th). Last year marked the fifth consecutive where a minimum of three past champions finished in the top 10 at the Buick Open.
Jason Gore tied for second a year ago, his best PGA TOUR finish since he won the 2005 84 LUMBER Classic. Gore fired rounds of 71-66-70-67 to finish one stroke behind winner Brian Bateman.
- You can’t have a much better record than Jim Furyk’s at the Buick Open. The 2003 Buick Open champ has finished in the Top-10 at Warwick Hills in his last seven starts. During that span of time he’s 122-under par. He has a streak of 37 consecutive under-par rounds going at Warwick Hills and over the course of his career he’s made the cut in all 13 starts. He’s played 52 rounds in his career at the Buick Open and 51 of them are par-or-better. He’s 178-under par for his career in the tournament.
- Another player with a strong record at the Buick Open is Woody Austin. He won the event as a rookie in 1995 and has finished 1-T2-T3 and T4 in his career at Warwick Hills.
- This is the 50th anniversary for the Buick Open. Buick is the longest running sponsor of a TOUR event dating back to 1958. Honda (1984) is next on the list with AT&T (Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 1986) and Chrysler (Bob Hope in 1986) just behind.
- Hunter Mahan is starting to build a Jim Furyk-like record at the Travelers Championship. Mahan has finished T2-1-T2 in the last three years in Hartford following his runner-up effort this past week. He now has 11 rounds in the 60s in his last 12 starts at the TPC River Highlands. He’s also in a rut in his final round efforts — he’s shot 65 in each of the last three years.
- The Travelers Championship was kind to rookies Brad Adamonis (T6) and Kevin Streelman (T10) with each recording his first career Top-10 last week.
- Chris DiMarco has struggled most of the year and was actually outside the Top 144 on the FedExCup points list going into last week’s Travelers Championship. A T13 jumped him back into contention for a playoff spot as he climbed 25 places to 141st.
- In the year of the young guys, the older guard showed last week that they aren’t going away anytime soon. No less than five players 45 or older finished in the Top-10 last week in Hartford. Tommy Armour II (48 years old) led the way with a T2 while Vijay Singh (45) finished 5th and Michael Allen (49) and Kenny Perry (47) both finished T6. Corey Pavin (48) finished T10 to round out the group.
- Stewart Cink’s victory last week at the Travelers Championship was the 228th by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR.
- It may look like an Edmonton Oilers reunion when the Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic presented by Samsung gets under way this week. Not only is The Great One on hand, but so are former Oiler Stanley Cup winners Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Marty McSorley and Grant Fuhr.
- There have been eight previous Nationwide Tour events conducted in Canada and native sons have won three of them. Richard Zokol claimed the 2001 CPGA Championship, David Hearn won the 2004 Alberta Classic and Jon Mills claimed the 2005 CPGA Championship. Hearn, by the way, will be in the field and his amateur partner will be Wayne Gretzky. Hearn grew up five blocks from Gretzky’s childhood home in Brantford, Ontario.
- During Rocco Mediate’s recent duel with Tiger Woods, the name Bob May came up on several occasions. Well, after years of fighting injuries, May appears to have found his old form. He’s finished second and T9 in his last two Nationwide Tour starts to climb from 133rd on the money list all the way to 23rd.
- 72-year old Gary Player matched his age last Saturday in the second round of the Bank of America Championship. It’s the 21st time he’s shot his age or better in his Champions Tour career.
- Jeff Sluman’s victory last week was his first in his Champions Tour career and just about two months shy of the 20th anniversary of his first PGA TOUR win, the 1988 PGA Championship.
- More on Sluman: His win made him the first player to win an individual stroke-play event for the first time on the Champions Tour this season. Andy North won his first Champions Tour title earlier this year when he teamed with Tom Watson to win the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.
- John Cook has the most Top-10 finishes on the Champions Tour this year with nine while Loren Roberts is tied for second in that category with eight. Comes as a surprise then that neither has won yet this year. Roberts has three runner-up finishes to his credit while Cook has finished in the Top-5 on five occasions.