Garcia Goosen Look to Turn Things Around


2006 Deutsche Bank Players ChampionshipFresh off the 135th Open Championship, the European Tour keeps the momentum going with another world class field assembling in Hamburg, Germany, for the Deutsche Bank Players Championship of Europe.
Although most of the top American players have flown back across the Atlantic - including the Open champ and three-time winner of this event Tiger Woods - the field still includes European Tour stars past, present and future set to do battle for the $4.5 million dollar purse.
No less than eight of the world's top-20 players will tee it up at Gut Kaden Golf Club, led by world No. 5 Retief Goosen and No. 9 Sergio Garcia.
Goosen, who was just four off the lead at the halfway point at Royal Liverpool, struggled a bit on the weekend, seemingly matching every birdie with a bogey and ultimately coming in a disappointing tie for 14th. Having played in this event every year dating back to 1995, Goosen has never visited the winner's circle but does have four top-10 finishes including a runner-up in 1999.
Perhaps the most interesting player to keep an eye out for, however, will be Garcia. The 26-year-old Spaniard again faltered in what was his best chance to garner the first major of his career. Paired with Tiger in the final round, Garcia quickly bogeyed two of the first three holes and was never a factor in the outcome, ultimately finishing in a tie for fifth.
Although it was Garcia's best finish in a major this year - after a 46th in the Masters and a missed cut at the U.S. Open - he has struggled for most of the season. He currently ranks 51st on the PGA TOUR's money list, well behind his earnings for the previous two seasons, where is ended up ranked 9th and 10th, respectively.
The other top-20 players joining Goosen and Garcia in the field will be 10th-ranked Luke Donald, David Howell (11), Colin Montgomerie (15), Henrik Stenson (17), Tim Clark (18), and Padraig Harrington (19). Howell, Monty and Harrington all missed the cut at Hoylake.
Last year's champ Niclas Fasth is set to defend the title he won when he birdied the third playoff hole to outlast Angel Cabrera.
American John Daly also returns to look to improve on his third place showing last year, just two shots out of the playoff.
Other top names teeing it up are Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Thomas Bjorn, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Cabrera, Michael Campbell and Lee Westwood. Westwood and Harrington are both past winners of this event.
Also in the field is Edoardo Molinari, the 2005 U.S. Amateur champion, who just completed his eligibility to play in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open.
The Italian, who is the brother of 2006 Telecom Italia Open winner, Francesco, turned pro after his playing in the Open Championship, where he was paired with Woods the first two days. He finished in a tie for 68th with 2004 champion Todd Hamilton.
Darren Clarke, who was scheduled to be in Germany, announced after missing the cut at the Open that he was taking an extended break from golf to be with his ailing wife.
The Golf Channel will televise all four rounds beginning Thursday at 9:30 a.m ET.
First prize for the Deutsche Bank Players Championship is $754,000.
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