This Week in Golf - August 2nd through August 5th

This Week in Golf - August 2nd through August 5th

This Week in Golf - August 2nd through August 5th
July 30th, 2007

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - LPGA TOUR - WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN, Old Course at St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland - When Sherri Steinhauer won the Women's British Open last year, it took more than a couple of sentences to explain what she had accomplished.

Steinhauer capitalized on a Saturday 66 to win by three shots over Sophie Gustafson and Cristie Kerr at seven-under 281, even after closing with a pedestrian 72 in the final round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

It was her second major championship and first since the 1992 du Maurier Classic, the event that was replaced as a major by the Women's British Open in 2001.

Of course, Steinhauer had also won back-to-back Women's British Opens in 1998-99 before it was a major, so she was no stranger to holding that title -- even if she was a little surprised to be holding it again.

"I feel like I'm living in a dream. I just absolutely am stunned," she said afterward.

Steinhauer didn't have far to travel for her title defense this week. She was in France along with the other top pros for the Evian Masters last week, where Natalie Gulbis claimed her long-awaited first victory.

Annika Sorenstam tied for sixth place in France, her first top-10 finish since March. At last year's Women's British Open, she fumbled her way to a 79 in the final round and finished 14 shots behind Steinhauer.

Sorenstam has just one British Open win, in 2003 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Plenty of players will be looking for their first major this weekend, including world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa.

This is the first time the Women's British Open will be played at the Old Course at St. Andrews, the site of so many memorable men's British Opens.

TNT will have coverage for two hours on Thursday and Friday, beginning at 10:00 a.m. (et). ABC will broadcast afternoon coverage on the weekend.

The LPGA Tour is off for a week following the British Open, returning Aug. 16 for the CN Canadian Women's Open, which was won by Cristie Kerr last season.

WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS

WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Firestone Country Club (South Course), Akron, Ohio - Of course we are not allowed to bet on golf, but that won't keep us from making recommendations to those who feel so inclined (so long as they bet where it's legal, you understand).

Put a sawbuck on Tiger Woods to win this week. You may only make enough to buy a couple of beers, but easily-earned beer is good beer.

Woods has won the Bridgestone Invitational five of the eight times it has been played since 1999, including last year's playoff victory over 2004 winner Stewart Cink, which came in the middle of Woods' long winning streak.

He has, of course, occasionally allowed others to walk away with this title. Cink's win in '04 marked the third straight year Woods failed to win (Craig Parry and Darren Clarke were victorious in '02 and '03).

His dominance in this event is made all the more impressive considering who it comes against: yearly, the best players in the world line up to play. This year's field is no different. All the usual suspects will be on hand, including each of the 2007 major winners so far (Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington).

Keep an eye on Phil Mickelson, who has missed three of four cuts since withdrawing from the Memorial with a left wrist injury. The PGA Championship is next week, and Mickelson is emerging as an early sleeper pick in some circles.

We know: Mickelson a sleeper? He is when he's playing this inconsistently.

The Golf Channel will have coverage of the first two rounds of the Bridgestone from 2-6 p.m. (et) on Thursday and Friday. CBS will broadcast for five hours on both weekend days beginning at 1 p.m. (et).

This is the third and final WGC event of the season. Henrik Stenson and Woods won the previous two.

Woods will defend his title at the PGA Championship next week. There are no competing events on the PGA or European Tours while the players are at Southern Hills.

PGA TOUR

RENO-TAHOE OPEN, Montreux Golf and Country Club, Reno, Nevada - The competing event this week on the PGA Tour is the Reno-Tahoe Open, where Will MacKenzie birdied the 72nd hole last year for his first win.

The birdie put MacKenzie at 20-under 268, one shot shy of a tournament record and a stroke better than Bob Estes.

Only three of the previous seven champions will be in the field this week, including MacKenzie. Some of them -- like two-time winner Vaughn Taylor and Scott Verplank -- will be playing at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Tadd Fujikawa will also be on hand, playing as a professional. Fujikawa, you might recall, became the second-youngest player to make a PGA Tour cut at the Sony Open in January.

It came just four days after his 16th birthday.

The Golf Channel will have exclusive coverage of all four rounds, beginning at 6:30 p.m. (et) on Thursday and Friday and at 9:00 p.m. (et) on both weekend days. It will air replays of every round early in the morning.

EUROPEAN TOUR

THE RUSSIAN OPEN GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP, Le Meridien Moscow Country Club, Moscow Russia - It's unlikely anyone noticed -- as we wrote in our recap a year ago -- but no one has ever played better at the Russian Open than Alejandro Canizares.

Canizares rolled to a four-shot win at Le Meridien last year, posting four consecutive rounds of 67 or better to set a tournament scoring record and claim his first European Tour win.

The son of four-time Ryder Cup player Jose Maria Canizares, he became the quickest affiliate member to win on the European Tour, claiming title No. 1 in just his third start and surpassing better-known previous record holders Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell.

This obscure European Tour stop played opposite the PGA Championship last year. It will compete with the Bridgestone Invitational this week.

One thing to watch: the professional debut of U.S. Amateur champion Richie Ramsay of Scotland. His win at the Amateur was the first for a British subject since 1911.

The Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds, beginning at 8:30 a.m. (et) on the first two days and at 9:30 a.m. (et) on both weekend days.

CHAMPIONS TOUR

3M CHAMPIONSHIP, TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minnesota - David Edwards closed with a 67 last year to claim his first win on the Champions Tour -- and first victory of any kind since the 1993 Heritage Golf Classic on the PGA Tour.

Hale Irwin, the winningest player in Champions Tour history, has also been the most successful golfer at this tournament. He has won it three times, but not since 2002.

Tom Watson is set to lead this week's field following his win at the Senior British Open on Sunday.

A very busy Golf Channel will have live coverage of all three rounds and will broadcast replays of each day in the evening.

The Champions Tour is off next week, returning Aug. 16th for the next major championship, the JELD-WEN Tradition. Eduardo Romero won last year's JELD-WEN in a playoff over Lonnie Nielsen.

NATIONWIDE TOUR

WICHITA OPEN, Crestview Country Club, Wichita, Kansas - Fresh off the yearly shootout known as the Cox Classic, the Nationwide Tour remains in the Midwest this week for the Wichita Open.

Last year, Kevin Johnson collected his fourth Nationwide Tour title and first since 2000. He won three times from 1997-2000, but had made just three cuts in 13 previous starts prior to his latest win.

The 40-year-old Johnson will be in the field this week, looking to become the first repeat champion in Nationwide Tour history.

Next week is the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic, where Craig Bowden won in a playoff last year. There is no television coverage for this week.

DURAMED FUTURES TOUR

USI CHAMPIONSHIP, Beaver Meadow Golf Course, Concord, New Hampshire - This is the first of five tournaments remaining before the Duramed Futures Tour 2008 Qualifying Tournament in November.

Last year, Charlotte Mayorkas claimed her second Futures Tour win (it was called the Laconia Savings Bank Golf Classic) on her way to becoming a rookie on the LPGA Tour.

Next week's event is the Betty Puskar Golf Classic, where Kristy McPherson won last year.

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Re: This Week in Golf - August 2nd through August 5th

Furyk could miss Firestone event
August 1st, 2007

Akron, OH (Sports Network) - Jim Furyk could miss this week's World Golf Championships event at Firestone Country Club because of a back injury.

Coming off a victory last week at the Canadian Open, Furyk aggravated a back problem while practicing on Tuesday. He will likely make a decision on his status Wednesday night or before the start of the tournament on Thursday.

With the PGA Championship set for next week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Furyk might just sit out this event to rest for the final major of the year.

Furyk, who has ascended to No. 2 in the world rankings, has had a brilliant 2007 season with one victory and seven other PGA Tour top-10 finishes. He's also been solid in the majors with a tie for 13th at the Masters, a tie for second at the U.S. Open and a tie for 12th at the British Open.

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