Franco Seeks Three-Peat in New Orleans


Carlos Franco stood by helplessly as Blaine McCallister hovered over a four-foot putt to win the 2000 Compaq Classic of New Orleans.
In his mind, the Paraguayan thought, Give me one more chance.
McCallister obliged by missing the putt on the first playoff hole. Franco then capitalized by parring the second extra hole to repeat as Compaq champion.
Franco was one of only three men to successfully defend a title in 2000. Tiger Woods did it at the Memorial, PGA Championship and WGC-NEC Invitational. Brad Faxon also accomplished that feat at the B.C. Open.
While Franco won for the second time in as many years at the English Turn Golf & Country Club, the then-41-year-old McCallister missed a golden opportunity to win his first PGA Tour event since 1993.
Franco earned his way into the playoff by saving par with a seven-footer on the 72nd hole and then sank another seven-footer on the first sudden-death hole to salvage a bogey and stay alive.
On the second playoff hole, Franco two-putted for his third tour title.
I never gave up, Franco said after the victory. I always give a good fight.
Hell have to fight even harder to retain his title for a third consecutive year.
World No. 2 Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Greg Norman, Hal Sutton, Ernie Els, Nick Price and Davis Love III are scheduled to compete on the par-72 Jack Nicklaus-designed course.
Mickelson is making his first start since finishing third in the Masters Tournament.
This years purse is $4 million, with the winner taking home $720,000. Last year, Franco, who was awarded 1999 Rookie of the Year honors, won $612,000.
The key to victory may be familiarity, or lack thereof.
Franco won in his first appearance in New Orleans in 1999. Lee Westwood did the same in 1998.
Faxon, 1997, and Love, 1995, had each played the event before; however, neither man had done so in seven years prior to their victories.
In between those two triumphs, Scott McCarron won in 1996 in just his second New Orleans start.
Full field from the Compaq Classic of New Orleans