|British Open/US Bank - July 13, 2009
Turnberry (Ailsa Course)
Turnberry, Ayshire, Scotland
Par: 35-35—70Yards: 7,204
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 600
Purse: £4,200,000Winner: £750,000
2008 Champion: Padraig Harrington (283, +3)
TOUR Media Contact: Mark Williams
Media Center Phone: 001-44-1292-750200
Harrington Looks to Make History
with Third Consecutive British Open Win
Padraig Harrington goes for his third consecutive British Open title this week when he tees it up at Turnberry’s Ailsa Course in Turnberry, Scotland. Harrington won last year’s British Open at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, a year after winning at Carnoustie in Scotland.
The Ailsa Course is no stranger to the British Open, first hosting the event in 1977 when Tom Watson outdueled Jack Nicklaus by a stroke. The Open returned there in 1986, with Greg Norman winning the first of two British Open titles. The last time the PGA TOUR visited Turnberry was in 1994, when Nick Price edged Jesper Parnevik by one stroke. The Ailsa Course has also been the site of six Senior British Opens, the last in 2006.
This year, Harrington’s top PGA TOUR finish came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He tied for 11th in Orlando. His lone top-10 finish of 2009 was at the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, where he tied for fifth.
British Open Notes
Of the 13 consecutive British Opens Tiger Woods played between 1995 and 2007,Woods has finished outside the top 25 just twice, both times in Scotland. He tied for 68th at St. Andrews in 1995 and tied for 28th at Muirfield in 2002. Woods has never played an Open at Turnberry, although two of his three victories have come in Scotland, both at St. Andrews.
The lowest 18-hole score in any of the four major championships is 63, recorded seven times at the British Open—and twice at Turnberry. Mark Hayes’ came in the second round in 1977, and Greg Norman fired a 63 in the second round in 1986. Of the 21 players who have shot 63 in a major championship, Norman and Vijay Singh are the only players to do it twice.
Turnberry’s Ailsa Course has been lengthened by 247 yards since the British Open was last played there 15 years ago. The new layout features six new tees, including a 200-yard drive over the bay near the famous lighthouse at the 10th hole. Another 135 yards has been added to the final three holes, with the par-5 17th stretched from 498 to 559 yards, and the 16th changing from a 410-yard, relatively straight hole to a 455-yard dogleg right.The course, which has hosted the British Open in 1977, 1986 and 1994, has an overall length of 7,204 yards.
Ernie Els has an exceptional British Open record. After missing the cut by two strokes in his 1989 debut, Els has finished outside the top 30 just once. He tied for 34th in 2005. From 1992 to 2008, he won (in 2002), had 11 top 10s and eight top fives.
Lloyd Saltman and Elliot Saltman are the first brothers since Seve Ballesteros and Manuel Ballesteros 26 years ago to qualify for the British Open.
Jack Nicklaus was a runner-up at the British Open more than any other player. Seven times he finished second to go with his three victories (1966, 1970 and 1978). Nicklaus’ runner-up finishes came in 1964, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1977 and 1979.
With his win a year ago, Padraig Harrington became the 26th player to record multiple British Open titles. Besides his win at Royal Birkdale, he also won the 2007 tournament at Carnoustie. Harrington is just the sixth player to post consecutive victories since 1951, joining Tiger Woods (2005-06), Tom Watson (1982-83), Lee Trevino (1971-72), Arnold Palmer (1961-62) and Peter Thomson (1954-56). Thomson was the only player to win three consecutive Opens during the last two centuries.
Brett Quigley turned down his invitation to the British Open after he was the top finisher at the John Deere Classic who wasn’t already exempt into the British Open field. As a result, the tournament gave Quigley’s spot to France’s Thomas Levet based on his Official World Golf Ranking position.
U.S. BANK CHAMPIONSHIP IN MILWAUKEE
Brown Deer Park Golf Course Milwaukee, WI
Par: 34-36—70Yards: 6,759
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 250
Purse: $4,000,000Winner: $720,000
2008 Champion: Richard S. Johnson (264, -16)
U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee Next
Up for PGA TOUR
The U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee is this week at Brown Deer Park Golf Course, the shortest course on the PGA TOUR. Brown Deer Park, which has hosted the event since 1994, is 6,759 yards.
A final-round 64 is just what Richard S. Johnson needed to win his first PGA TOUR title, the 2008 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. That 64 was one stroke better than Ken Duke’s 65—one stroke eventually being Johnson’s winning margin.
The victory lifted Johnson to a 77th-place finish in the FedExCup and a 119th-place position on the final money list. Johnson, a Stockholm, Sweden, native, will not be defending his title this week as he qualified for the British Open. But Wisconsin natives Jerry Kelly, Mark Wilson and J.P. Hayes are all in the field, as well as a pair of Champions Tour regulars—Jeff Sluman and Loren Roberts, who both won twice in Milwaukee. Sluman was victorious in 1998 and 2002, while Roberts took home titles in 1996 and 2000. The start by Sluman is his 700th on the PGA TOUR.
U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee Notes
Jerry Kelly, a Madison, WI, native is looking for his first U.S. Bank Championship win in his 16th start. Kelly has four top-10s in Milwaukee, with runner-up finishes to Loren Roberts (1996) and Corey Pavin (2006). Earlier this year, Kelly announced he would play the U.S. Bank Championship regardless whether he received a spot in the British Open. Kelly made the statement as a show of support for the tournament where he played his first two PGA TOUR events (1991 and 1992) and where he made his first TOUR cut, tying for 34th in 1995.
Appleton, WI, native J.P. Hayes will be making his 15th consecutive appearance in Milwaukee and his 16th overall. Hayes has a pair of third-place finishes in his home state, in 2000 and 2001.
Marquette University senior All-American Mike Van Sickle was one of eight American college players named to this year’s United States Palmer Cup team. At the Palmer Cup, the Milwaukee native set a tournament record by scoring the largest margin of victory in a singles match, besting Leonardo Motta, 8 and 7. Van Sickle, the Big East Conference Player of the Year, was recently named the 2009 Byron Nelson Award winner. Mike helped Marquette win the 2008 Big East Championship, Marquette’s first men’s golf conference title and its first Big East Championship in any sport.
Corey Pavin, the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup captain and 1984 Shell Houston winner, will tee it up in his 18th U.S. Bank Championship. Pavin won in Milwaukee in 1986, at the time his fourth overall PGA TOUR title. He followed that win with another in 2006, his 15th career victory.
Kyle Stanley, a first-team All-American from Clemson University, was recently named the 2009 Ben Hogan Award winner following his sophomore season. The top honor a collegiate golfer can earn, the award is presented annually to the top men's college golfer, taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions. A native of Gig Harbor, WA, Stanley set 18 Clemson records during his rookie campaign and was named the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year. Stanley made his professional debut at the Travelers Championship in June. Stanley played in four PGA TOUR events as an amateur, making his first cut at the U.S. Open and finishing 53rd.
The final-round scoring average (67.974) at the 2008 U.S. Bank Championship was the lowest single-round scoring average on TOUR last year. The cumulative scoring average (68.794) was the second-lowest on TOUR last year behind the Wyndham Championship (68.753).
The rich history of the U.S. Bank Championship boasts a past-champions list that includes Dave Stockton, Jay Haas, Corey Pavin, Greg Norman and Kenny Perry. But the tournament possesses one of the most-impressive list of players who didn’t win in Milwaukee but finished second. They include World Golf Hall of Fame members Sam Snead (1968), Gary Player (1969), Chi Chi Rodriguez (1981) Tom Watson (1984) and Jack Nicklaus (1985).
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
One reason for Steve Stricker’s victory last week at the John Deere Classic was his amazing short game--he got up and down 17 out of 17 times. No one has had a better week since Shigeki Maruyama was 21 for 21 at the 2002 Shell Houston Open.
Look for a lot of low scores at this week’s U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. Brown Deer Park GC played to a stroke average of 68.8 last year—the second lowest on TOUR in 2008. The final round scoring average of 67.97 was the lowest one round average on TOUR last season.
Jeff Sluman will take a break from the Champions Tour this week to compete at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. A two-time winner of the event, Sluman will be making his 700th career start on the PGA TOUR.
Tiger Woods has only an 8-point lead in the FedExCup standings entering this week’s British Open. Anyone in the Top 9 could pass him this week and take over the top spot.
Is this a hint of what’s to come? Tiger Woods (2005-2006) and Padraig Harrington (2007-2008) became the first players to win consecutive British Open titles back-to-back since Bobby Jones (1926-27) and Walter Hagen (1928-1929) did it. Jones came back to win it again in 1930.
Look for a veteran player to win in Milwaukee this week. The tournament has been won nine times by players in their 40s or older, including Art Wall, who won in 1975 at age 51 years, 7 months and 10 days.
While players had to go 36 holes last Sunday at the John Deere Classic, it didn’t seem to bother too many of them. In fact, 26 of the 65 competitors managed to shoot two rounds in the 60s on Sunday led by Brett Quigley who posted 62-67.
There have only been three first-time winners on TOUR this year. There were 12 last year. The lowest total of the last 40 years was four in 1992.
In addition to Jeff Sluman, five other Champions Tour players are teeing it up this week at the U.S. Bank Championship — Ronnie Black, Fred Funk, Scott Hoch, Loren Roberts and Bob Tway. Still seven more are playing in the British Open, including six who won the event — Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Sandy Lyle, Mark O’Meara and Tom Lehman.
With his victory last week at the 3M Championship, Bernhard Langer has won eight of his first 37 starts on the Champions Tour. The Tour’s all-time leader in wins, Hale Irwin, won six of his first 37 starts on the circuit.
Larry Mize has posted five consecutive Top-10 finishes on the Champions Tour after his T7 last week in Minnesota. He has six in his last seven starts and is currently second in the Charles Schwab Cup standings behind Bernhard Langer.
The Champions Tour is off this week, but will return next week at the Senior British Open in Berkshire, England.
The victory by Steve Stricker last week at the John Deere Classic was the 250th win by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR.
Cameron Percy has been on a nice roll of late on the Nationwide Tour. The Aussie has finished T7-T7-T11-T2-T12 in his last five starts and is 60-under over that span. He has 14 rounds in the 60s in his last 20 tries and has moved into sixth place on the money list.
Kyle Reifers had a record-breaking stretch in the first round of last week’s Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic. Starting on the fourth hole, Reifers went birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie—10-under for eight holes. That’s the best eagle-birdie stretch in the history of the Tour. In fact, it’s the best eagle-birdie stretch on any of the three tours.
The Nationwide Tour is off this week, but will return next week in Omaha for the Cox Classic presented by Lexus of Omaha.