The BellSouth Classic will serve as the primer to the years first major, the Masters Tournament. Played at the Greg Norman-designed TPC at Sugarloaf, $3.8 million is up for grabs, with $684,000 going to the winner.
Scott McCarron is the defending champion. Hes had an impressive start to the 2002 campaign, though hes yet to re-enter the winners circle.
Sundays have been McCarrons Achilles heel. He shot 71 in the final round of the Nissan Open to finish tied for second. He lost in the finals of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship to Kevin Sutherland. And in contention at the Bay Hill Invitational, he shot a final-round 81 to drop into a tie for 40th.
Ironically, Sunday at the 2001 BellSouth Classic was McCarrons defining day. He survived 36 wind-gusted holes.
Rain delayed the event, leaving players with a full two rounds to complete Sunday. With winds gusting up to 38 mph, McCarron shot 72-73 to win by three shots over Mike Weir. Only four players managed to shoot at least one round in the 60s on the final day. 2000 champion Phil Mickelson shot 73-75; Ernie Els shot 81-73.
The victory was McCarrons third on tour, and his first since capturing the same event in 1997.
Its so good to be back in the winners circle after four years, McCarron said after his win. Everybody kept telling me, Youre due. I felt that way, too.
Once again, a strong international field is in Duluth. Retief Goosen, Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Jesper Parnevik and Lee Westwood are present. Mickelson, Davis Love III, Tom Lehman, Chris DiMarco, John Daly and Charles Howell III are among the top-name American participants.
Vijay Singh is also in the field. Singh snapped a near two-year winless drought last week by capturing the Shell Houston Open.
Full field and tee times