ON THE FAIRWAYS | This week's pro golf events
PGA TOURThe Players ChampionshipPonte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Schedule: Thursday-SundayCourse: Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass, Stadium Course (7,098 yards, par 72)Purse: TBA ($8 million in 2005). Winner's share: TBA ($1.44 million in 2005).Television: ESPN (Thursday-Friday, noon-6 p.m.) and NBC (Saturday, 2-6 p.m.; Sunday, 1:30-6:30 p.m.)Last year: Fred Funk won in a Monday finish to become the oldest champion in the event at 48 years, 9 months, 14 days. He closed with a 1-under 71 in the wind to beat Tom Lehman, Scott Verplank and Luke Donald by a stroke.Notes: Tiger Woods tied for 20th last week in Orlando, 10 strokes behind winner Rod Pampling. Woods won The Players in 2001, the second leg of his Bay Hill-Players-Masters sweep. He also won the first of his record three straight U.S. Amateur titles in 1994 on the Stadium Course. ... The BellSouth Classic is next week in Duluth, Ga., followed by the Masters. ... The tournament ends the race for spots in the Masters, with the top 50 in the world rankings and top 10 on the PGA Tour money list earning berths. ... Phil Mickelson is coming off a two-week break. In his last start, he had weekend rounds of 72 and 73 to finish eight shots behind Woods at Doral. ... Vijay Singh tied for seventh at Bay Hill. ... In 2004, Adam Scott beat Padraig Harrington by a stroke to become the youngest winner in tournament history at 23. ... Greg Norman set the tournament record in 1994. He matched Fred Couples' 1992 course record with a 63 and finished with three 67s for a 24-under 264 total. ... Jack Nicklaus is the only three-time champion, winning in 1974 at Atlanta Country Club, 1976 at Inverrary and 1978 at Sawgrass Country Club. ... New Zealand's Craig Perks won in 2002, chipping in twice in an eagle-birdie-par finish. ... Next year, the event will shift to the second week in May. ... Woods and Ernie Els are set to play in the Tavistock Cup Monday and Tuesday in Orlando. Woods' Isleworth Country Club teammates include Mark O'Meara, John Cook, Lee Janzen, Stuart Appleby, Charles Howell and Robert Allenby, while Els will join Retief Goosen, Sergio Garcia, Nick Faldo, Trevor Immelman and Ben Curtis in the Lake Nona lineup.
NATIONWIDE TOURLouisiana OpenBroussard, La.
Schedule: Thursday-SundayCourse: Le Triomphe Country Club (7,061 yards, par 72)Purse: $500,000. Winner's share: $90,000.Television: NoneLast year: Ryan Hietala won his first Nationwide Tour title on his home course, closing with a 4-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over Sean O'Hair.Notes: The tournament opens the tour's 28-event North American schedule. ... Ryan Hietala and Jim Rutledge are in the field along Kevin Stadler and early tour winners Tripp Isenhour and Paul Sheehan. Isenhour won the season-opening Panama Championship and Sheehan took the Jacob's Creek Open in Australia. Stadler also won in Australia, topping a strong international field in the European tour-sanctioned Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth. ... The top 20 money winners will earn 2007 PGA Tour cards, and three-time winners get an automatic promotion. ... The Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship is next week in California.
PGA EUROPEAN TOURMadeira Island OpenSanto da Serra, Madeira Islands
Schedule: Thursday-SundayCourse: Santo da Serra Golf Club (6,826 yards, par 72)Purse: $852,180. Winner's share: $142,025.Television: NoneLast year: Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen won his second European tour title, beating Andrew McLardy and Gary Orr by two strokes.Notes: Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles west of Morocco. ... Des Smyth won the 2001 tournament at 48 years, 34 days to become the oldest winner in European tour history. ... The Algarve Open of Portugal is next week at Le Meridien Penina.
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