Menu

GOLF

This Week in Golf -- September 29th through October 2nd

PGA TOUR - JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE SHRINERS TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada - After a thrilling finish to the FedExCup Playoffs, the PGA Tour kicks off its' Fall Series this week in Las Vegas.

Last year's tournament was full of drama. Jonathan Byrd, Cameron Percy and 2009 champion Martin Laird all finished at 21-under 263.

The trio played three extra holes and matched pars each time. As the sun was setting, the threesome agreed with tour officials to play one more hole.

Byrd needed just one more shot to end it. His tee shot at the par-three 17th landed on the green, then rolled about 10 feet and fell into the cup for an improbable hole-in-one.

The odds of getting a hole-in-one are pretty high, just imagine how much higher they were for Percy and Laird in their attempts to match Byrd's feat. Neither could, and Byrd headed to the winner's circle for the fourth time on the PGA Tour.

Laird also needed a playoff in 2009. He took three holes to beat Chad Campbell and George McNeill for the title.

This tournament also had three straight playoffs from 1989-91.

Now that the FedExCup Playoffs are over, another big race starts along with the Fall Series. That race is to finish inside the top 125 on the money list, which gives players their tour card for next year.

Eleven golfers ranked between Nos. 125 and 140 on the money list are in the field this week hoping to earn enough cash to keep the playing privileges for 2012.

Bob Estes, Billy Mayfair and former Players champion Stephen Ames are among those that will be at the TPC Summerlin this week. Ames is exempt through 2013 with his title at the Players, but Estes and Mayfair are trying to guarantee their cards for next year.

Golf Channel has coverage all four days.

The PGA Tour returns to California next week and Tiger Woods will be in the field for the Frys.com Open. That will mark Woods' first appearance in a Fall Series event since it was created five years ago.

Rocco Mediate, who battled Woods for 91 holes at the 2008 U.S. Open, stumbled to a 73 in the final round last year, but it was enough for a one-stroke win, his sixth on the PGA Tour and first since 2002.

EUROPEAN TOUR

ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS CHAMPIONSHIP - Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie & Kingsbarns, Fife, Scotland - Five of the top 10 players in the world will be in Scotland this week for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Like the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, this event is spread over three courses -- the Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns -- as the professionals play alongside amateur partners for the first three days.

Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy -- the top three players in the world -- will be joined in the field by No. 5 Dustin Johnson and No. 6 Martin Kaymer.

Masters winner Charl Schwartzel and British Open champ Darren Clarke will also be competing.

Among the well-known amateurs competing are Hugh Grant, John O'Hurley, Huey Lewis and former skiing champion Franz Klammer.

Last year, Kaymer fired four rounds in the 60s, including a final-round 66 at St. Andrews, to win by three strokes over Danny Willett. The victory was Kaymer's third straight win dating back to the PGA Championship.

Golf Channel has extensive coverage of all four rounds.

The European Tour moves back to Spain next week for the Madrid Masters, where Donald is slated to defend his title.

CHAMPIONS TOUR

SAS CHAMPIONSHIP - Prestonwood Country Club, Cary, North Carolina - The Champions Tour returns to action after a one-week break with the SAS Championship.

Russ Cochran only needed a one-under 71 in the final round last year to collect his second straight Champions Tour title. Cochran finished two strokes clear of 2009 winner Tom Pernice, Jr.

Two weeks earlier in South Korea, Cochran took down Fred Funk in a playoff. The two victories were Cochran's first on the senior circuit and he added another big title earlier this year.

The 52-year-old Cochran fired back-to-back 67s on the weekend to beat Mark Calcavecchia at the Senior British Open. That was Cochran's first major title of any kind.

Tom Kite will make a little history this week. The 61-year-old will make his 1,000th combined start on the PGA and Champions Tours.

"Quite honestly, it doesn't really mean a whole lot," Kite said two weeks ago in South Korea. "It means that I've been out here a long time and it means I've been able to remain relatively healthy and that I've enjoyed playing golf for a long time, and I still enjoy it. It's just a number, just like a birthday, it doesn't mean a thing."

Kite will become the 12th player with over 1,000 combined starts. Miller Barber tops that list, as he competed in 1,292 PGA and Champions Tour events.

Golf Channel has the broadcast all week.

The Champions Tour will be in Texas next week for the Insperity Championship. U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples cruised to a seven-stroke win last year, thanks in part to a final-round, nine-under 63.

NATIONWIDE TOUR

WNB GOLF CLASSIC - Midland Country Club, Midland, Texas - Nate Smith closed with a six-under 66 last year to win the WNB Golf Classic by two strokes.

Smith, who needed just 24 putts in the final round, won for the first time on the Nationwide Tour. However, he will be in Las Vegas this week for the PGA Tour event so he will not defend his title.

Last year was the third straight year without a playoff. But from 2002-07, there were four playoffs, including back-to-back ones in 2006-07.

There is no television coverage this week.

The tour shifts to Tennessee next week for the Children's Hospital Classic, where Scott Gardiner was a playoff winner last year.