Philadelphia, PA —
PGA TOUR – BYRON NELSON CHAMPIONSHIP, TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas, Irving, Texas – The PGA Tour remains in Texas for the second step of its Texas Two-Step.
Last week, the Colonial was lucky enough to have an emotional victory from David Toms after the heartbreak of the week before at The Players Championship.
Toms isn’t in the field this week, but defending champion and Masters runner- up Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia highlight the 2011 field.
Also scheduled to tee it up on Thursday is Jordan Spieth. You might remember him as the then 16-year-old amateur who was tied for seventh place after the third round last year. He is back in the field this year trying to atone for his two-over 72 on Sunday of 2010.
Day finished with a final round of two-over 72 one year ago. He ended at 10- under-par 270 to earn his first victory on the PGA Tour, but it didn’t come easy.
Day landed in the water on the 18th for the third time that week on Sunday, but escaped with a bogey.
Blake Adams needed a par on the last to force a playoff, but he also hit his second into the soup. Adams made a double-bogey that closed out a round of two-over 72. He shared second at minus-eight with Brian Gay (63) and Jeff Overton (71).
The ninth oldest tournament on tour — not including the majors — the HP Byron Nelson Championship, is one of only two events named for a player. The other event is the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which was known as the Bay Hill Invitational until 2007. Nelson has had his name attached to this event since 1968.
Golf Channel has the first two rounds before CBS takes over on the weekend.
Next week is the Memorial Tournament, Jack Nicklaus’ event. Justin Rose won the title last year, his first of two summer victories.
SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP – Valhalla Country Club, Louisville, Kentucky – The second major championship of the season in on hand for the Champions Tour at a semi-familiar venue.
Valhalla has hosted the 1996 and 2000 PGA Championships as well as the 2008 Ryder Cup.
One name has the most experience at Valhalla and a local connection.
Kenny Perry, who is still winless on the Champions Tour, is from the Louisville area and he lost a playoff for the 1996 PGA Championship. He famously waited in the broadcast booth instead of hitting balls and eventually lost to Mark Brooks, who is also in the field this week.
Perry also made it clear in 2008 that his single goal for the season was to participate in that Ryder Cup near his home. He made the team, played well and is back almost three years later for a Champions Tour major.
Tiger Woods won the 2000 PGA, but he clearly isn’t old enough for this tournament.
Last year, Tom Lehman survived an odd playoff for his first major on the elder circuit. At Colorado Golf Club, Lehman found the fairway off the tee on the first playoff hole while Fred Couples and Peter Senior drove left of left. Lehman made a routine par and walked off with the title.
Lehman also captured this season’s first major and in an oddly similar fashion to his Senior PGA title. Mr. Senior was the victim again and Lehman did it with a par, although this time it was on the second extra hole.
Steve Pate, a two-time U.S. Ryder Cupper, is making his debut on the Champions Tour this week.
Golf Channel has the telecast on Thursday and Friday, then NBC has Saturday and Sunday.
Next week is the Principal Charity Classic, which was won by Nick Price in 2010.
BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP – Wentworth Club, Surrey, England – The best field of the week belongs to the prestigious BMW PGA Championship.
Seven of the top-10 golfers in the world are on hand starting Thursday. The only omissions are the three Americans in the top 10 – Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar. (Notice Tiger Woods is no longer in that group?)
Lee Westwood is still No. 1. Luke Donald had yet another chance to ascend to the top, but lost to Ian Poulter at the Volvo World Match Play Championship on Sunday.
Martin Kaymer, reigning U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlory, Paul Casey and Masters winner Charl Schwartzel are also signed on for on play.
Other than the majors, the World Golf Championships events and the season- ending Dubai World Championship, this tournament offers the largest purse. It’s considered the flagship of the tour, but it was a lesser-known player that walked off with the title in 2010.
Simon Khan shot a five-under 66 on Sunday and erased a seven-shot deficit to get his second European Tour win. He finished at six-under 278 and beat Donald and Fredrik Andersson Hed by a shot.
Khan became the first sponsor’s invite to hoist the trophy and with the first- place check of almost 750,000 euros, he moved from 153rd in the season-long Race to Dubai, to seventh.
Golf Channel will bring you all of the action for the four rounds.
Next week is the Wales Open at The Celtic Manor Resort, site of the 2010 Ryder Cup. McDowell won that title before winning the U.S. Open and capping off his season with the decisive point at said Ryder Cup.
BRAZIL CUP – Itanhanga Golf Club, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – It may only be a two-day tournament with unofficial money, but there are plenty of interesting storylines this week.
Suzann Pettersen won the Sybase Match Play Championship on Sunday and moved to No. 2 in the world rankings. She’s on hand this week, as is the woman she defeated in the Match Play final, Cristie Kerr.
Also, Rio De Janeiro is hosting the Olympic return of golf in 2016 and with 14 different countries represented in the field, we might see some of the same golfers in five years.
Last year, Meaghan Francella finally defeated Mariajo Uribe in a six-hole playoff to secure her second LPGA victory. Both return are expected to be on hand, while 2009 HSBC Brazil Cup Champion Catriona Matthew also is set to compete.
There is no television coverage this week.
Next week is the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway, New Jersey. Ai Miyazato won last year’s title.