|Bridgestone WGC; Reno-Tahoe Open - July 28, 2008
WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-
Firestone CC (South)
Par: 35-35—70Yards: 7,360
FedExCup Points: 26,250Winner: 4,725
Purse: $8,000,000Winner: $1,350,000
2007 Champion: Tiger Woods (272, -8)
Bridgestone Invitational is Wide Open; Defending Champion Woods Sidelined
In his career, Tiger Woods has won six World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitationals. He won’t make it seven this year after a knee injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 2008 season.
A year ago, Woods was the only player in the field to finish under par, cruising to an eight-shot win over Justin Rose and Rory Sabbatini.
With Woods absent, the top-ranked player in the field is Phil Mickelson. He is one of the 47 of the top-50 in the Official World Golf Ranking in attendance this week.
World Golf Championships-
Bridgestone Invitational Notes
Kenny Perry, a three-time winner this year, enters the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational with a streak of 16 consecutive rounds of par-or-better. Of those 16 rounds, 15 have been in the 60s. In Perry’s last four tournaments, he’s a cumulative 60-under par.
Of the 990 golf holes played in official PGA TOUR competition in 2007, two of the top-15 toughest holes for the world’s best players were at Firestone Country Club. The par-4, 494-yard ninth hole ranked as the 12th-hardest hole on TOUR, playing at a 4.447 average. The par-4 fourth hole ranked No. 15 on the list, with players averaging 4.432 on the hole.
Only one Bridgestone Invitational rookie finished in the top 10 at the 2007 Bridgestone Invitational. Andres Romero tied for sixth. The players who will be competing in the Bridgestone Invitational for the first time are Mark Brown (New Zealand), Daniel Chopra (Sweden), Richard Finch (England), Ross Fisher (England), Hidemasa Hoshino (Japan), Brendan Jones (Australia), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Anthony Kim (U.S.), James Kingston (South Africa), Pablo Larrazabal (Spain), Prayad Marksaeng (Thailand), Chez Reavie (U.S.), Brandt Snedeker (U.S.), Scott Strange (Australia), Toru Taniguchi (Japan), D.J. Trahan (U.S.), Johnson Wagner (U.S.), Steve Webster (England) and Oliver Wilson (England).
There are seven players in this week’s field who have combined to win nine World Golf Championships events. They are Geoff Ogilvy (2008 CA Championship, 2006 Accenture Match Play Championship); Henrik Stenson (2007 Accenture Match Play Championship); Stewart Cink (2004 Bridgestone Invitational); Ernie Els (2004 CA Championship); Darren Clarke (2003 Bridgestone Invitational, 2000 Accenture Match Play Championship); Craig Parry (2002 Bridgestone Invitational); and Steve Stricker (2001 Accenture Match Play Championship).
LEGENDS RENO-TAHOE OPEN
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,472
FedExCup Points: 12,500Winner: 2,250
Purse: $3,000,000Winner: $540,000
2007 Champion: Steve Flesch (273, -15)
Legends Reno-Tahoe Open this Week
The 10th playing of the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open is this week at Montreux Golf and Country Club in Reno, NV. Steve Flesch, who won the 2007 tournament, qualified for the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and is in Akron, OH. Jeff Quinney, No. 56 in the Official World Golf Ranking, is the highest-ranked player in the field.
Legends Reno-Tahoe Open Notes
In the nine-year history of the event, where eight players have won the title (Vaughn Taylor won in both 2004 and 2005), an American has walked away with victory every year. France’s Jean Van de Velde is the international player who came closest to winning, losing in a playoff in 2000 to Scott Verplank. A year ago, Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge and Australia’s Steve Elkington had the best finishes among international players. They both tied for sixth.
Wind is often an issue at Montreux Golf and Country Club. With gusts to 35 mph in the final round in 2007, only three players were able to break 70. Low-round honors belonged to Rich Barcelo, with a 4-under 68. The other sub-70 rounds came from Paul Stankowski and Brian Gay, who both shot 69s. In 2004, with gusts reaching 45 mph during the final round, only two players—Carl Pettersson and Cameron Beckman—shot sub-70 rounds. Both players had 69s.
The Legends Reno-Tahoe Open has a tradition of crowning champions who either have or have gone on to play in either the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup, or both. Former U.S. Presidents Cup team members who have won in Reno include Notah Begay III and Scott Verplank, while U.S. Ryder Cup team members who also won this tournament are John Cook, Chris Riley, Vaughn Taylor and Verplank.
Steve Flesch was the only wire-to-wire winner on the 2007 PGA TOUR. Flesch opened with a one-shot lead, moved ahead by two at the halfway mark, led by five through 54 holes and won by five strokes. The only other start-to-finish winner in Legends Reno-Tahoe Open history is Vaughn Taylor in 2005.
Players with Nevada ties have had success at this tournament, with University of Nevada-Las Vegas graduate Chris Riley winning in 2002 and University of Nevada alum Kirk Triplett winning in 2003 in the town where he went to college. A year ago, Reno resident and University of Nevada graduate Rich Barcelo tied for fourth.
Four times in tournament history, the eventual champion has shot a 63. Notah Begay III did it in 1999 (third round) and Kirk Triplett (final round) in 2003. In each of the last two years, the winners have also shot 63s: Will MacKenzie (first round in 2006) and Steve Flesch (first round in 2007).
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
Kenny Perry enters this week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational with 16 consecutive rounds under-par to his credit. He has 15 rounds in the 60s over that span and is a collective 60-under in his last four starts in which he’s finished T6-1-1-T6.
With the victory by Chez Reavie last week at the RBC Canadian Open, 10 different players in their 20s have won this season. Reavie is just 26, but four players younger than him have won this season—Anthony Kim, Sean O’Hair, J.B. Holmes and Andres Romero.
If the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup were to begin today, 36 players in their 20s would qualify, including nine of the Top 30.
Scott McCarron’s T5 last week in Canada was his best finish on TOUR since a T2 at the 2005 FBR Open. The outing took him from 178th on the FedExCup points list all the way to 136th.
There’s only three weeks left to qualify for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, and a number of prominent players are outside the Top 144 and need to make a move if they are to get involved in the playoff picture. Davis Love III is currently 147th on the points list while Jeff Maggert (156th), Lee Janzen (159th), Chris DiMarco (163rd) and Rich Beem (164th) are all farther back.
The victory by Chez Reavie last week moved him to 29th on the FedExCup points list and makes him the top rookie on the TOUR to date. The next-closest rookie on the points list is Brad Adamonis in 83rd place.
Phil Mickelson has an interesting record at Firestone CC, site of this week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. From 1995 through 2002, Mickelson finished T4-1-2-2-2-T4-T8 and T9, at the course. In the last five years, he finished T23-T43-T51-T54 and T46.
He hasn’t won the Senior British Open yet, but a look at his record would indicate he’s going to one day. Eduardo Romero has played in the event five times in his career and has finished 2-T2-3-T4 and T9. He was third last week in the tournament at Royal Troon.
Five-time PGA TOUR winner Ken Green was the latest player to make his Champions Tour debut, finishing T54 last week at the Senior British Open.
Craig Stadler made his first career hole-in-one on the Champions Tour on the famous “Postage Stamp” eighth hole at Royal Troon last week. Not only did he get to write a “1” on his scorecard, he also earned 123 bottles of wine—one for each yard of the hole. It was Stadler’s first competitive hole-in-one since the 2002 PLAYERS Championship.
Bruce Vaughan’s victory at the Senior British Open was his first since winning twice on the Nationwide Tour in 1994 and vaulted him into the Top 10 (9th) in the Charles Schwab Cup points race.
Last week was an historic one for the Nationwide Tour. Rookie Chez Reavie won on the PGA TOUR to raise the number of victories by alumni on the TOUR to 230. Meanwhile, former member Bruce Vaughan won the Senior British Open to up the number of alumni victories on the Champions Tour to 71 and raising the total number of PGA TOUR/Champions Tour wins over the 300 mark to 301. Vaughan’s win was the 10th major championship on the Champions Tour won by a former member and the first at the Senior British Open.
Chez Reavie was a member of “The 25” last year, and his victory last week at the RBC Canadian Open made him the 16th player in history to win on the PGA TOUR the year after graduating from the Nationwide Tour.
Colt Knost and Jarrod Lyle will be looking for their third win of the season and the automatic promotion to the PGA TOUR this week at the Cox Classic presented by Chevrolet. Eight players have earned three-win promotions to the PGA TOUR, three of them finishing the task at the Cox Classic—Chris Smith (1997), Heath Slocum (2001) and Jason Gore (2005).
“The 25” currently features players from six different countries—the U.S., Australia, England, Zimbabwe, Canada and India.