On Location at The Memorial – Tuesday

The Memorial Tournament has begun near Columbus, OH and I’m in the audience. As proof, I offer these pictures.

I’m on location this week near Columbus, OH to watch The Memorial Tournament, a tournament Jack Nicklaus has attempted to craft into his very own Masters tournament. There’s the course, a 7300-yard test with small greens, a meandering stream, hills left and right (and fore and back), and a 165-yard 12th hole over water to a diagonal, peanut-shaped green. There are the caddies, who all wear white overalls. There are the trash bags, all tents, and the course conditions – green, green, and green. There’s even the name of the club at which the tournament is played – “town name” Golf Club (I guess Jack forgot the word ‘National’). Nicklaus, winner of six Masters, has created a tournament that draws big fields, I’ll give him that. But The Memorial is no Masters.

Heck, it may not even be a PGA Tour stop after this year… but more on that tomorrow.

Memorial Jack Nicklaus Waist

Best Non-Major PGA Tour Events

This week’s Trap Five takes a look at the most prestigious events on the PGA Tour outside of the major championships.

Trap Five LogoWith The Memorial coming up this week, I started thinking about the great events on the PGA Tour schedule each year that aren’t considered major championships. The four majors are of course The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and PGA Championship. These four tournaments are obviously the best and most important each year and for great reason. The following is a list of events I feel are just a small step behind the major championships but still very special to all the PGA Tour players. There is only room for five, so some great tournaments missed the cut including the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the Mercedes Championship, Bank of America Colonial, and the upstart Wachovia Championship.

Volume Eleven

Here’s a three-pack of links after a busy Memorial Day weekend.

I just flew in from Houston and boy are my arms tired! I hope everyone had a good weekend and was able to get out and play some golf. Since I was traveling all day yesterday, I thought I should throw some links out there on a Tuesday instead. Enjoy.

Reid on Target at Senior PGA

Mike Reid – known affectionately as “Radar” on tour – wins the Senior PGA Championship in a three-way playoff.

Mike ReidThe man once and forever known as “Radar” – as much due to the fact that he looked like his M.A.S.H. counterpart as he was accurate with his irons – quietly walked away with the Senior PGA Championship on Sunday. In true tortoise-meets-hare fashion, Mike Reid plodded along, firing three consecutive rounds in the 70s to enter the final round two back.

Leonard Sneaks One Out at the FedEx

Justin Leonard shoots a horrible 73, but eeks out a win in the FedEx-St. Jude Classic for his second win of the year.

Justin Leonard St. JudeThe thought slipped into Justin Leonard’s mind briefly as he stood over a 3½-foot putt for bogey on No. 18. If he missed, he was going to a playoff.

That eight-stroke lead? Long gone, and his name would be in the record book for blowing the biggest lead ever on the PGA Tour.

“I pretty quickly pushed that out of my mind,” Leonard said.

The Texan sunk the putt, reached in the hole for the ball and then collapsed onto the green in relief after pulling out a one-stroke victory over David Toms in the St. Jude Classic on Sunday, the first wire-to-wire win of his career and the second on tour this year.

Starting with an eight-stroke lead, Leonard closed with a 3-over 73 to finish at 14-under 266 and earn his second title of the year and 10th of his career.

Jimin Kang Captures First Career Title at Corning Classic

Jimin Kang wins the Corning Classic by two strokes over Annika Sorenstam and Meena Lee.

The top of the leaderboard took on an international flair today as two Korean players and a Swede battled it out for the lead. It was a back-and-forth day for Jimin Kang and Meena Lee with both ladies struggling to control the scoreboard.

Kang (66) and Lee (67) were tied for the lead when they hit their tee shots at the 18th hole. Even the hole-in-one that Kang shot at the par-3 15th came after a disappointing bogey one hole earlier. Right after that exciting ace, Kang followed up with a birdie to give her a one-shot lead over Lee. A final pressure-packed double bogey for Lee sealed the deal and delivered Kang her victory.

Jimin Kang walked off with the Steuben glass bowl and a check for $165,000 while the rookie tied for second with defending champion Annika Sorenstam (69) who sniffled her way through the tournament.

Justin Leonard Blow-Out at FedEx St. Jude

Leonard extends his lead to 8 strokes at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Kenny Perry paved the way at the Bank of America Colonial last week and Leonard is bent on following in his footsteps.

One of Justin Leonard's numerous sand savesJustin Leonard grabbed the largest 54-hole lead of the year as he shot a 4-under 66 to lead the pack by a whopping 8 strokes. He sits at 17-under. He has carried a lot of confidence into the weekend having shot an 8-under round one and a 5-under round two at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. “I want to finish this off well and I want to play a good solid round tomorrow,” said Leonard. “I don’t want tomorrow to take anything away from what I’ve done this week.”

Leonard felt that consistent and bogey-free golf has made the difference. Leonard said, “I think we’re all going to have stretches where we make a lot of birdies but to get around here with as difficult as these greens are with one bogey I’m pretty proud of.”

Rain Halts Round Three at Senior PGA Championship

Great play from iron-man Quigley, consistency from Reid and a small stumble from Pate have three tied for first in the middle of round three.

Jerry Pate (-5) was two strokes ahead of the field when round two ended on Friday. By the time rain had halted play this afternoon he was one stroke above par and in a tie with Dana Quigley (-5) and Mike Reid (-5) for first. Reid birdied his opening hole and continued consistent play with pars through the 10th hole while Quigley posted four birdies and only one bogey through 11 holes to jump into the first-place tie.

Pate expressed confidence in his ability to hold up during Sunday’s extended day. “I’m in pretty good shape so there won’t be a fatigue factor — it’s not going to come into my game. I’m looking forward to playing.” That sounds good coming from a guy who had to drop out of competitive golf for so many years because of shoulder trouble.

Leonard Maintains Lead in Memphis

Justin Leonard shot a 65 on Friday to follow-up on his sizzling opening-round 62.

Leonard TeeshotHit it straight off the tee and hit a lot of greens. That is the key for Justin Leonard so far this week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He shot a five-under par round of 65 on Friday to push his lead to five strokes over a surging Fredrik Jacobson. Leonard is currently ninth in driving accuracy and tied for first on greens in regulation. Add that to the fact he is fourth in putting, and it’s easy to see why the Texan is cruising so far in Memphis. Justin is halfway to his second win of 2005, also winning the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in January. The fairways have dried out a little, and he is taking advantage of that to get a little more distance off the tee.