The Bank of America Colonial marks the TOURs second straight stop in the Lone Star State, and the 21st overall event this season.
None of the three are in the field this week, but defending champion Kenny Perry has returned to try and continue his Colonial dominance.
Perry has three top-3 finishes in his last four starts in this event, including runaway victories in 2003 and 2005. He set the 72-hole tournament scoring record in his maiden Colonial triumph, finishing at 19-under 261 ' six clear of second place. Last year, he matched that mark, finishing seven clear of second.
But the Kentuckian will have a difficult time adding a 10th career TOUR victory to his resume this week, as he is competing in just his second event since a knee injury sidelined him for two months. Perry, who was forced to miss his title defense earlier this year at Bay Hill, admitted that he rushed his recovery a little in order to make it back for this repeat bid.
Other past winners, on the other hand, dont seem to share in Perrys enthusiasm for this event. 2000 winner Phil Mickelson is absent so that he can concentrate on the U.S. Open; 2001 champ Sergio Garcia, who has three missed cuts in four Colonial starts since his victory, did not commit; neither did 2002 winner Nick Price, who felt shunned in his 03 title defense, when Annika Sorenstam garnered all the attention, and hasnt since played.
The field includes just two of the top 10 players on the Official World Golf Rankings. And it no coincidence that they are both among the favorites this week.
Furyk is one of the hottest players in golf right now. Three top-3 finishes in his last five starts, including a playoff win two weeks ago at the Wachovia Championship, have vaulted Furyk to second place on the money list. He's less than $300,000 behind Mickelson, who is absent this week, and can pass him with a good finish at Colonial. This is his 11th appearance in this event. He has four career top-10s here, including a runner-up showing in 1998 to Tom Watson.
Toms, like Leonard, has never won at Colonial. But, just like it does for Leonard, the course appears to suit his game quite well. Toms has played this tournament eight times and has four top-10 finishes. Toms could use some friendly surroundings at the moment. He got off to a great start this season, winning the Sony Open and collecting two other top-3s. But he has missed the cut in three of his last five starts.
Campbell hadnt been much of a factor on TOUR since he tied for third at the Masters Tournament, until his fifth place effort last week at the Byron Nelson. The Texas native has played this event four times, finishing one shot back of winner Steve Flesch in 2004.
Bernhard Langer? Yep. Its doubtful that the 48-year-old German will earn his first TOUR title since the 1993 Masters, but he does have a good track record here ' even if that is a short, short track. Langer first played this tournament in 1986 and finished tied for third. He didnt play it again until last year, when he tied for sixth. If the course is manageable and demanding, then Langer, even at 48, is a viable contender.