This Week in Golf - July 5th through July 8th

This Week in Golf - July 5th through July 8th

This Week in Golf - July 5th through July 8th
July 2nd, 2007

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - USGA - U.S. SENIOR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Whistling Straits Kohler, Wisconsin - The final round of last year's Senior U.S. Open became a tale of two players: Allen Doyle, the man with the homespun swing; and Tom Watson, the home favorite with the championship pedigree.

The story ended with Doyle shooting a two-under 68 and coming from three shots back to beat Watson and successfully defend his title, becoming the first player to win back-to-back U.S. Senior Opens since Gary Player in 1987-88.

He was also the oldest Senior Open champion at 57 years, 11 months and 17 days.

The crowd pulled for Watson, but he managed only a two-over 72 in the final round to end two shots behind Doyle.

Either way it shook out would have made for a good story.

Doyle, a onetime accomplished amateur and member of the Georgia Sports and Georgia Golf Halls of Fame, has been an unlikely star on the Champions Tour. He says his unorthodox swing developed from practicing in a room with low ceilings as a youngster.

"One would have been great, obviously. Two is unbelievable," said Doyle of his second U.S. Senior Open win.

Watson enjoyed the second- and third-round leads, spurred on by a gallery of supporters as a Kansas City native and honorary Prairie Dunes club member. He was looking for his fifth senior major championship.

"It's very disappointing for me to play that way when the chips are down," Watson sighed afterward. "I could have done a lot better for myself out there, but it wasn't to be."

This year, Whistling Straits is hosting its first-ever USGA championship. But it is no stranger to majors: This is where Vijay Singh won the 2004 PGA Championship.

Doyle and Watson will be joined in the field by the usual Champions Tour set, including the season's first major winner at the Senior PGA Championship, Denis Watson; tour money leader Jay Haas, who is looking for his fifth win of the season; and last week's winner at the Commerce Bank Championship, Lonnie Nielsen.

ESPN2 and NBC will split coverage of the four-round event. Next week is the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, a new event on the Champions Tour.

PGA TOUR

AT&T NATIONAL, Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Maryland - If he hosts it, they will come.

Well, sort of.

Most of the world's best players will be on hand this week for Tiger Woods' new tournament -- including the world No. 1 himself, making his first start since the birth of his daughter -- but the leadup to the event has not unfolded without criticism.

A handful of players voiced criticism over the invitational field of 120, approved by the PGA Tour in March when the tournament was announced as a replacement for the International.

The good news for fans: Outside of the major championships, there are few better chances to see the world's best players in one place than there will be this weekend at venerable Congressional Country Club.

Five of the top six players in the world rankings are in the field, including Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Adam Scott and Vijay Singh. Recovering quicker than expected from a left wrist injury, Mickelson is playing for the first time since the U.S. Open.

The bad news for the fans: Well, there is none, really. Unless you were pining to see the likes of Cameron Beckman and John Merrick. They weren't among the 120.

The Golf Channel will have coverage of the first two rounds, while CBS will broadcast the weekend. Next week is the John Deere Classic, where John Senden won last year. Michelle Wie has withdrawn from the event.

EUROPEAN TOUR

SMURFIT KAPPA EUROPEAN OPEN, The K Club, Straffan, Ireland - The field in this week's Smurfit Kappa European Open should produce some interesting storylines.

Angel Cabrera will make his return to the European Tour following his surprising win at the U.S. Open last month, where he held off the likes of Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk to win his first major championship.

Smoking and sweating down the stretch, Cabrera did enough to beat brutal Oakmont and two of the world's best players. Which was harder, we're not sure.

Padraig Harrington will be looking for another win in his native country after becoming the first player in 25 years to win the Irish Open when he beat Bradley Dredge in a playoff in May.

Several of Harrington's teammates from the European Ryder Cup win last year will also be on hand, including Paul Casey and David Howell, playing at the K Club for the first time since their rout of the Americans.

Last year, Stephen Dodd shot a 70 on Sunday to beat Jose Manuel Lara and Anthony Wall by two shots for his third European Tour win.

This year, the Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds beginning at 10 a.m. (et) as well as re-broadcasts of the weekend rounds in the evening on Saturday and Sunday.

Next week is The Barclays Scottish Open, where Johan Edfors won last year.

NATIONWIDE TOUR

LEGEND FINANCIAL GROUP CLASSIC, StoneWater Golf Club, Highland Heights, Ohio - Last year, Gavin Coles shot a three-under 68 in the final round to beat Bradley Hughes by a shot for his third Nationwide Tour win and first since 2004.

Coles is playing on the PGA Tour this season -- with one start, and one missed cut, on the Nationwide Tour -- and won't be in the field to defend his title.

There won't be any television coverage this week.

Next week is the Children's Hospital Invitational, a new event on the Nationwide Tour to be held at The Ohio State University's Scarlet Course. Jack Nicklaus is scheduled to serve as the inaugural chairman.

CANADIAN TOUR


TELUS EDMONTON OPEN, Edmonton Country Club, Edmonton, Alberta - Last year, Stephen Gangluff carded three straight rounds in the 60s, then beat Brendan Steele in a playoff to win the Edmonton Open.

The victory spurred Gangluff's race to the Rolex Order of Merit Championship for the Canadian Tour and his eventual move to the Nationwide Tour.

Next week is the Free Press Manitoba Classic, where Josh Habig won last year.

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Re: This Week in Golf - July 5th through July 8th

AT&T National at Congressional Country Club   

It was a tortuous end to the Buick Classic. Brian Bateman made a 12-footer for birdie on the 18th to win and avoid a 47-man playoff, which would have been interesting (good for Bateman, though, notching his first PGA Tour win with a clutch birdie on the last hole). The problem was that the two players in the last group, Jesper Parnevik and Tom Pernice Jr. were still on the course.

They were having lousy days and had no chance after Bateman made his putt ahead of them. Parnevik was closest, at -12, which means he would have had to ace the par-4 18th to tie Bateman. Obviously, that wasn't going to happen, but I suppose for the purposes of ultimate certainty, CBS stayed on the air for his drive. I thought they'd politely say something like, This one's over,congrats Brian Bateman. Instead they stayed for Pernice's drive and for the entire hole they followed them with the tournament's winner already determined. Parnevik actually backed off his birdie putt because the people in the stands behind the green were leaving their seats. Can you blame them? Watching the tarp process at Wimbledon this week has been more inviting TV than that last hole. The host of this week's AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, Tiger Woods, might not win but a strong field should make for better viewing.

At this week's AT&T National, take Ryuji Imada (125-1), 1/6 unit: Smooth swinger with mental stamina---one of his two wins on the Nationwide Tour came with a birdie on the fifth extra hole---or lack of experience on the big Tour: that playoff loss to Zach Johnson in Atlanta got messy with an errant tee shot that was compounded by a go-for-broke second shot that landed short and left. Laying up for a realistic shot at birdie would have been the better option. He's young, though. An excellent putter, he just needs to find more greens. He finished 5th at the 2005 Booz Allen Classic, which was played that year at Congressional. Take Fredrik Jacobson (50-1), 1/6 unit: He's got three top-10s in only 11 events, including a T10 last week. Like Imada, an excellent putter. He finished T29 at the Booz Allen in 2005 (he shot a 67 on Sunday). Take Aaron Baddeley (40-1), 1/6 unit: Baddeley has a Tiger-like Tour schedule with only 14 events played in 2007. He can afford to rest. It would be a source of more criticism if he wasn't having such a year: five top-10s, including a win, and 12th in FedEx Cup points. He last played at the U.S. Open a few weeks ago, where despite a closing 80 he finished T13.

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