Looking for Magic at Disney


2005 Funai Classic at the Walt Disney World ResortTiger Woods wasnt around for the final two rounds of last years Funai Classic at Walt Disney World. And he wont be around for the first two this year.
Woods, for just the second time since he turned professional 10 years ago, has opted to skip this weeks event, which is contested just down the road from his home in Windermere, Fla.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has twice won at Disney, including his second career TOUR win in 1996.
Its the second time in the last three years that Woods, who won here in 1996 and 99, has decided not to make the short drive to Lake Buena Vista. He also failed to compete in 2004, when he was still in honeymoon mode.
Last year, he gave it a go and actually missed the cut. After playing 142 PGA TOUR events without missing a cut, he did so earlier in the year at the Byron Nelson Championship. Ten starts later, he had another weekend off.
Woods has been off since winning his sixth straight TOUR event at the WGC-American Express Championship three weeks ago. He is not expected to tee it up again ' and go for No. 7 ' until the season-ending TOUR Championship.
With the big cat away, the TOURs mice are ready to play for some big cheese in the land of Mickey.
This is one of only two full-field events remaining on the 2006 TOUR calendar, meaning just two more opportunities for players to earn card for 07 and spots in the TOUR Championship field in Atlanta.
Count Bart Bryant among those in the latter group. Bryant is the defending champion at the season finale, but has not yet qualified for the field, which is open to the top 30 players on the money list following next weeks Chrysler Championship.
Bryant is currently outside the top 60 on the money list and would need to win this weeks first-place prize of $828,000 to vault into the top 30.
Bryant, however, has not had much success in this event. He has played it nine times and has never finished better than tied for 16th. Because of his record, hes not among our top 5 favorites to win the big mouse ears this week.
These are:
Vijay Singh
Singh is three starts away from closing out a disappointing campaign. Hes won only once this season and has dropped to fifth in the world rankings. But a win this week ' or over the next three weeks ' can add a little salve to his wounded pride. Singh is trying to continue a streak of four straight multiple-win seasons. This will be his eighth appearance at Disney. He won in 2003 and was runner-up in '04.
Lucas Glover
Were it not for a near-miraculous 45-foot bunker hole-out last year on the 72nd hole, Tom Pernice, Jr. would be the defending champion. But Glovers ball did go from sand to cup for birdie and a one-stroke victory ' his first on the PGA TOUR. Glover will now try and become the first player since Tim Simpson (1990-91) to retain his title. He has yet to add a second victory to his resume since leaving Disney, but this is as good a place as any for him to earn win No. 2. Aside from his triumph last year, Glover also tied for 10th in 2004. All eight of his rounds at Disney have been in the 60s.
Carl Pettersson
Pettersson will be defending his title next week down the road in Tampa. Hed like to bring with him another trophy from Orlando. Pettersson validated his maiden TOUR win at the 05 Chrysler Championship with a victory in this years Memorial Tournament. His last two Disney appearances have resulted in a tie for 10th and a tie for 15th.
Sean OHair
OHair tied for 50th in his first Disney appearance a year ago. But, at the time, he was more concerned with enjoying all of the attractions with his wife and daughter. Now, hes likely to be more focused as he looks to avoid a sophomore shutout. OHair, the reigning Rookie of the Year, has only two top-10s this season ' but they have both come over the last couple of months. If he spends a little more time on the range this week instead of at Epcot, he may have a chance for a second TOUR title.
Camilo Villegas
This event is contested over two courses, the Magnolia and the Palm. Both are par-72 layouts, but the revamped Magnolia, at 7,516 yards, is about 500 yards longer than the Palm. And being the host course, players will get three looks at the Mag. Power is usually of great benefit at most tournaments, and this one is no exception. Villegas, who averages over 302 yards off the tee, has plenty of strength. A win this week would likely wrap-up Rookie of the Year honors for the former Florida Gator.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Funai Classic at Walt Disney World