Major Names Seek Major Victory


2005 Jeld-Wen TraditionALOHA, Ore. -- A winning birdie on the final hole of the Tradition isn't Craig Stadler's only memorable shot of last year's tournament. His double eagle also stands out.
Stadler was still a day away from winning the tournament at the Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club when he accomplished the rare feat on the par-5 16th, holing out from 207 yards.
In the final round, Stadler closed with four straight birdies and finished with a 5-under 67 for a one-shot victory and his second win in a major on the Champions Tour.
Stadler made a 4-foot birdie putt on the last hole to finish a stroke ahead of Jerry Pate and Allen Doyle. Peter Jacobsen, the hometown favorite, was one of seven golfers two strokes back.
``I've had more hole-in-ones,'' Jay Haas said about double eagles. ``You don't see them. Very rare.''
The Tradition, which gets underway on Thursday, is the last of five majors this year on the 50-and-over tour.
Stadler has 10 top-10 finishes on the Champions circuit this year, but has yet to win.
The 51-year-old Haas was playing in just his fifth senior event, splitting his time with the PGA Tour. He played three events with the seniors last year, but not the Tradition.
``I still am not totally comfortable, but I've got less of that fish-out-of-water feeling than I had last year,'' he said.
Haas said he hasn't yet decided when he'll walk away from the PGA Tour.
Loren Roberts, playing in his third Champions event, said many of the older players on the PGA Tour are waiting to see how Haas transitions to the older tour.
``Of the late 40s guys, Jay has kind of been our leader because he's done so well on both tours,'' Roberts said. ``I think we're kind of looking to Jay -- and we'll all follow what he does.''
The Tradition was played 14 years in Arizona before Jacobsen lobbied to relocate it. But for the first Oregon event in 2003, Jacobsen was 49 -- too young for the Champions Tour.
Jacobsen had staged the Fred Meyer Challenge, a popular pro-am, in Oregon for the 17 years before the Tradition. The golfer's sports management firm runs the tournament sponsored by Oregon window and door maker JELD-WEN.
Greg Norman withdrew from the Tradition late last week, citing muscle fatigue. It is the same issue that kept him out of the PGA Championship.
Norman had back surgery earlier this year and did not play until the British Open at St. Andrews last month, where he tied for 60th. He followed that with the Senior British Open and the Senior U.S. Open, then missed the cut at the International on the PGA Tour.
Curtis Strange also withdrew from the tournament for personal reasons.
David Eger won his second Champions Tour title last weekend, beating Tom Kite by three strokes in the Boeing Greater Seattle Classic.
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