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On Tour This Week – Westwood’s Bid For #1
European Tour: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
The top pros return to Fife for the playing of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Phil Mickelson had plenty of chances to oust Tiger Woods from the number one position in the official world golf rankings of the last few months but this week it is Lee Westwood’s turn to attempt a climb to the top. Even with his long injury break he will need just a top two finish in Scotland to become the world’s top-ranked player.
Nine members of the victorious European side at the Ryder Cup will tee it up in the championship. Euro Captain Colin Montgomerie and two of his Vice-Captains, Darren Clarke, and Paul McGinley will turn in their walkie-talkies in exchange for their clubs and head out onto the links themselves. The use of Kingsbarns, Carnoustie, and the Old Course should prove a fine test for all competitors.
Unfortunately due to an ankle injury 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen will have to let somebody else placed a trophy on the 18th green at the Old Course on Sunday.
Even with such a strong field all eyes will be on Westwood, even those of his European counterparts, as it has been a long time since one of their continental colleagues held the #1 position.
PGA Tour: McGladrey Classic
Its week two of the PGA Tour’s Fall Series, which finds the American tour in Georgia for the McGladrey Classic. This new event should become a favorite on tour with the beloved Seaside Course at Sea Island as the host.
Top-tier players had to deal with the FedEx Cup pressures but genuine drama is playing out at Sea Island with just this event and three others left for players to assert their position on the money list and ensure they’re playing privileges for 2011.
Even though he is coming off a loss at the Ryder Cup, Sea Island resident and former Masters champion Zach Johnson is the start of the show this week. Johnson has a win under his belt this year at Colonial and his straightforward style of play is perfect for the exquisite Seaside Course where a premium is put on accuracy.
Also keep eyes on Bill Haas coming off his Viking Classic win and looking to join Jim Furyk is the only three-time winners on the PGA Tour in 2010.
Another Sea Island resident, Matt Kuchar, will also be on hand with a Ryder Cup hangover and be looking to further cement his top spot on the PGA Tour’s money list.
LPGA Tour: Navistar LPGA Classic
The ladies of the LPGA tour are in Prattville Alabama this week for the fourth playing of the Navistar LPGA classic. There will be a new champion crowned this week as 2008 and 2009 winner Lorena Ochoa retired earlier this year.
Just fractions of a point separate the top five players in the Rolex Rankings and current #1 player Ai Miyazato and #3 ranked Cristie Kerr are starring in this week’s field.
This is a 72 hole event being played on the Robert Trent Jones Trail Capitol Hill, Senator Course.
With four round coverage on Golf Channel expect their cameras to be trained much of the week on Miyazato and Kerr with 15 year-old sponsor’s exemption Alexi Thompson also a part of the cast.
Nationwide Tour: Chattanooga Classic
Aussie Steven Bowditch looks to come off his win in California and add another in Tennessee. Top finishers from last week’s Soboba Classic, Daniel Summerhays and Keegan Bradley, as also in the field at the 26th Nationwide Tour event of the season.
Each of those three players is virtually certain to finish in the top 25 and earn a PGA Tour card for 2011 so the real interest in this event is those still fighting to get into a similar position.
A couple of Canadian boys who have tasted time on the PGA Tour before, David Hearn and Jon Mills, sit in 26th and 27th position, respectively, along with # 25 man Scott Gutchewski, are all sitting out this week, so expect some real movement on the money list.
After Chattanooga there are just two full-field events left to play before the Tour Championship.
Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship
Jay Haas defends this week but at a different venue. The TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm is the host site for 2010 and most of tour’s best talent is on hand for the tour’s 5th and final major of the season.
Bernhard Langer will be trying to capture his 6th win of the year on the Champions Tour while Fred Couples will be seeking #4.
Michael Allen, coming of a 2nd place finish with the younger crowd at the Viking Classic, will try and add a 2nd Champions Tour major to his resume.
You can view a digital version of the Championship’s program here.