This Week in Golf -- August 2 through August 5

EUROPEAN TOUR - WGC-BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL - Firestone Country Club (South Course), Akron, Ohio - The best of the world convene at Firestone for this World Golf Championships tournament.

There are several ways to qualify for this event, but needless to say, the game's best will be on hand.

This week begins a hugely significant stretch on the PGA Tour. After this week, the PGA Championship is on tap, followed by a tour stop, the four events of The Playoffs in a five-week span, then the Ryder Cup.

The defending champion this week may have some questions lobbed at him in his pre-tournament press conference.

Last year, Adam Scott won this title by four strokes. The highlight of the victory came after Scott's final birdie putt fell into the hole and it came from his caddie.

Steve Williams, recently fired by Tiger Woods at the time of Scott's victory, took over the Australian's bag, then called Scott's win "the best win of my career."

Williams may not have actually won anything, or might have been surprised to learn he was on the job for seven Bridgestone Invitational titles while working for Woods, but his post-round interview with David Feherty caused quite a stir.

This year, Scott will probably get asked more questions on a different subject.

It was just two weeks ago at Royal Lytham & St. Annes where Scott essentially blew The Open Championship. He had a 4-shot lead on the back nine, but bogeyed the last four holes to hand the Claret Jug to Ernie Els.

It'll be Scott's first public appearance since the meltdown at The Open.

Els is also in the field after he missed the cut last week at the Canadian Open.

Golf Channel has the action on Thursday and Friday, then CBS takes over on the weekend.

Next week is the PGA Championship at Kiawah, where Keegan Bradley will defend his title.


RENO-TAHOE OPEN, Montreux Golf &Country Club, Reno, Nevada - With the game's best in Ohio, the Reno-Tahoe Open offers an alternative to the rest of the players.

There is a big change to this year's event, it will be contested using Modified Stableford Scoring.

You may remember the format from The International, an event that left the PGA Tour's schedule after the 2006 edition.

Points are awarded for your score on hole.

Eight points are given for a double eagle, five for an eagle, two for a birdie and zero points for par. A player will lose a point for a bogey and three for double bogey or worse.

So, in a golf rarity, the highest score wins.

That brought a freshness to the event, which lost its defending champion on Sunday.

Scott Piercy captured this championship last year, but won the Canadian Open on Sunday to get into the field for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

The tournament got a boost when one world-class star committed to the field. Padraig Harrington, a 3-time major champion, entered the tournament in part, to help prepare for next week's PGA Championship. Harrington isn't qualified to play in Akron.

Golf Channel has all four rounds.

After the two events this week, there will be the PGA Championship and the Wyndham Championship to get into the field for the first Playoff event, The Barclays.


3M CHAMPIONSHIP, TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minnesota - After two straight major championships, the Champions Tour heads to the Twin Cities for a regular old stop.

Neither of the major champions from the last two events, U.S. Senior Open winner Roger Chapman, or Senior Open Champion Fred Couples, will be playing this week.

Jay Haas became the 15th player in Champions Tour history to win 15 events when he titled last year. He birdied the last to win by a single stroke over Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman and Peter Senior.

Haas aced the fourth hole on Friday and became the player since Jeff Sluman to record a hole-in-one, then win the tournament.

Lehman will be a popular competitor this week. He was born in Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota. In fact, Lehman, while struggling on mini tours and the Tour, almost took the head golf coach job at his alma mater.

Golf Channel will carry the broadcast.

After a week off opposite the PGA Championship, the Champions Tour returns for the Dick's Sporting Goods Open. John Huston earned his first victory on the elder circuit last year.


COX CLASSIC, Champions Run, Omaha, Nebraska - Last year, J.J. Killeen won this event, the Utah Championship the week before, then won the money title on the Tour.

Obviously, he moved on to the PGA Tour and won't be on hand to defend his title. He's teeing it up in Reno this week.

The focus this week will be on Casey Wittenberg, the only two-time winner this season. If he gets to the winner's circle on Sunday, Wittenberg will get a promotion to the PGA Tour.

Golf Channel will show all four rounds.

Next week is the Price Cutter Charity Championship, which was won last year by Steve Friesen.