Bryant has won the Champions Tours Regions Charity Classic the past two years since the event moved to the Robert Trent Jones Trail course from across town. He has three second-place finishes but no wins in 10 events on the year.
I have been struggling some with my game, he said Thursday, a day before play begins at soggy Ross Bridge course in suburban Birmingham. My game wasnt in great shape last year when I arrived here, but I won so Im hoping good things happen again this year. Im very happy to be back here at this golf course. I like this course.
And with good reason. Bryant topped R.W. Eaks with a birdie on the third hole of a playoff to successfully defend his title in 2007 and become the events first two-time winner. It had been the only Champions Tour event played at least 15 years without a repeat winner.
Bryant & Co. will have to contend with officials to push back Fridays starting time, with a two-tee start on Nos. 1 and 10. Tournament pro-ams were rained out.
The course is in great shape, but Im not sure what the rain will do to it, Bryant said. We know the course is going to play really, really long. That could be to some guys advantage'the players who hit it high and long.
Nine players will make their Regions Classic debuts, including points leader Bernhard Langer, who has already won twice. The other newcomers include Jeff Sluman, who won the 1988 PGA championship, and former British Open and Masters winner Sandy Lyle.
The winner of the $1.7 million tournament gets $255,000