Players to Bank On at Colonial

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 17, 2005, 4:00 pm
Tiger Woods doesnt play the Bank of America Colonial. Hasnt since he tied for fourth in 1997.
Hes not too fond of Colonial Country Club. Has indicated that its outdated and doesnt suit the modern player.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods hasn't played at Colonial since he shot 72 in the final round in 1997 to finish T4.
Tigers biggest qualm with Colonial is that it takes driver out of his hand. The layout totals 7,054 yards, but is filled with doglegs and double doglegs, and requires precision off the tee, usually in the form of fairway wood or long iron.
Of course, Woods hits less than 57 percent of his fairways and ranks outside of the top 150 on tour in driving accuracy, so the conservative approach isnt the worst option.
Phil Mickelson is the only member of the 'Big 4' in this week's field. In addition to Tiger's absence, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els are not making the short trip from Irving, Texas, site of last week's EDS Byron Nelson Championship, to Ft. Worth.
Singh last played in 2002 ' which may have something to do with that Annika thing. And Ernie Els hasnt played here since 1996.
But the Colonial is not without some recognizable names. Eighteen of the top 30 players on the Official World Golf Ranking are on hand. And many come for the Colonial challenge.
Sure, you cant hit driver every hole, but who says you have to? questioned Texan Justin Leonard. I certainly dont think this golf course is outdated. Its a nice break from a lot of the golf courses that we play.
Now, do I think we should play these kinds of courses every week? No. But I think we should play more golf courses like this where its more of a strategy and you do have to work the ball around and do those kinds of things.
Colonials list of past champions includes, among others: Sam Snead, Cary Middlecoff, Billy Casper, Tom Weiskopf, Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Price, Tom Watson, and, of course, Ben Hogan.
Hogan won five times at Colonial, and the venue is nicknamed Hogans Alley. He is renown as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, ball-striker of all-time, so it should come as little surprise that he won so many times on a shot-makers course.
Its a great old course. Its not lost to the test of time, said 2003 champion Kenny Perry. It doesnt hold a back seat to anything.
And theres so much tradition and history here.
Perry is just one of several players who have a history of passing the annual exam that is Colonial Country Club.
Five for the Title:
Kenny Perry
Perry has made 14 cuts in 15 career starts in this tournament. In addition to his 2003 triumph, he tied for second in 2002 and tied for 12th in his title defense a year ago. He prevailed two years ago ' flying under the radar that was focused on Annika Sorenstam ' with a tournament record 19-under-par 261. He shot a course-record-tying 9-under 61 in the second round en route to victory. But, as Perry points out: There was no wind, and they were having to water the greens to keep them alive from the heat and humidity. And the conditions were just perfect for scoring. Normal Texas conditions returned last year and Steve Flesch won with an 11-under 269 total ' ending some of the speculation that Colonial had indeed become outdated for the modern player.
Justin Leonard
Justin Leonard
Justin Leonard has never missed a cut in 11 starts at the Colonial.
Since winning the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in January, Leonard has three missed cuts and has yet to record another top-10 finish. Hes never won at Colonial, but he also has never missed a cut. He is 11-for-11 in cuts made in Ft. Worth. He was runner-up to Perry in 2003, when he also shot 61 in the final round. The Dallas native has only three finishes in his career outside of the top 20 in this event.
Phil Mickelson
Mickelson has competed in 11 of the last 12 Colonials. He won here in 2000 and was runner-up the following year. He tied for 35th last year, which was his worst finish when making the cut (he's made nine of 11 cuts). Mickelson tied for 14th last week. It was his first finish outside the top 10 since The Players Championship. In 11 events this season, Lefty has three wins and seven top-10s.
Jim Furyk
You should be hearing Furyks name a lot over the next few months. He loves this time of year, and has the record to prove it ' including at Colonial. He had to skip this tournament a year ago while recovering from wrist surgery, but he tied for fifth in his last appearance in 2003. He was also runner-up in 98. Furyk, who has a pair of runner-up finishes in his last three starts on tour, has four top-10s in nine career Colonial starts.
Stewart Cink
Like Leonard, Cink has always finished what he started at Colonial. Cink has made eight cuts in eight starts here. He tied for second in 2000, and has ended in the top 15 each of the last two years. Cink started the season promisingly with back-to-back top-5s, and then made it to the quarterfinals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. But he has only one top-10 in his last seven starts. Still, he has yet to miss a cut this season.
Playing Out the Front Nine
Four more players to keep an eye on
*Steve Flesch, who is the defending champion. Flesch was the only player to shoot all four rounds in the 60s last year. He earned his second career tour title by defeating Chad Campbell by a stroke, doing so on his 37th birthday. Flesch is 7-for-7 in cuts made here and has two other top-10s to go along with his win; however, Hogan is the only player to successfully defend his title in this event, doing so in 1947 and again in 1953.
*Fred Funk, who has also never missed a cut in 14 career starts; though, he has twice withdrawn. If accuracy is the key at Colonial then you might expect Funk to have a good record here ' and he does. He tied for second in 1999 and tied for ninth in 2003. Another top-10 this week and it would be his first since capturing The Players Championship.
*Sergio Garcia, who won this event in 2001. Garcia finished first in his Colonial debut, but has since missed two cuts and tied for 35th. After blowing a six-stroke lead in the final round of the Wachovia Championship, he tied for 35th last week in his Byron Nelson title defense.
*Tom Byrum, who used to receive instruction from Hogan at Shady Oaks. Byrum doesnt have a top-10 this year and has only one sub-70 round since Pebble Beach; however, he has made the cut in nine of his last 10 starts at Colonial and tied for 14th last year.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Bank of America Colonial
  • Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

    By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

    Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

    Getty Images

    Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

    Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

    As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

    Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

    This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

    The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

    Getty Images

    Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

    PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

    She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

    “I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

    Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

    “Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

    She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

    “I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

    Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

    She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

    “They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

    Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

    While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

    “Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

    Getty Images

    Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

    PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

    In fact, she named her “Mona.”

    For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

    While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

    And that has her excited about this year.

    Well, that and having a healthy back again.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

    Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

    Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

    She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

    Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.