Greensboro Not for Greenhorns


The winner of the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro receives the Sam Snead trophy. And its been a most appropriate prize over the past seven years.
Snead won this event seven times. He captured the inaugural tournament in 1938, and did so on five more occasions before ending his Greensboro dominance in 1965 ' at the age of 52.
Golfs elder statesmen have recently returned to the reigns in this event. The last seven winners have averaged 39 years of age.
Rocco Mediate met that median number when he held on to capture his fifth career tour title a year ago at Forest Oaks Country Club.
Before Mediate there was 45-year-old Scott Hoch, whose predecessor was 41-year-old Hal Sutton.
Of course, there has been a highly successful veteran campaign on the PGA Tour in 2003. There have been 11 different winners aged 40 and higher this season.
While a more established player might be favored to again prevail this week, it will be difficult for Mediate to become the first player since Snead, in 1956, to successfully defend his title.
Mediate, who also won this event in 1993, tweaked his oft-injured back at the WGC-American Express Championship and then was forced to withdraw after two rounds of last weeks Las Vegas Invitational.
In fact, several of the past Greensboro champions are a bit banged up either physically or professionally.
Or both, in Hoch's case.
Hoch is enduring his worst season in over a decade. Despite winning at Doral, he has been hampered by an injury to his left wrist and went a four-month stretch without making a cut.
He is languishing outside the top 50 on the money list. He has finished outside the top 40 only once since 1981.
Like Hoch, Sutton has found the winners circle since his Greensboro triumph, but he has also suffered a serious dry spell.
Sutton, whose last victory came in the 2001 Shell Houston Open, made 11 cuts in 26 starts last season. Hes been more successful this year with 16 cuts made in 24 starts, and four top-10s.
Jesper Parnevik, the 1999 champion, has gone from eighth to 31st to 63rd on the money list over the last three years. This season, he is just trying to stay inside the top 125.
The eccentric Swede has only one top-10 finish in 28 tournaments this season.
Trevor Dodds was the surprise Greensboro winner in 1998 ' and he hasnt since cracked the top 130 on the money list. The South African is currently trying to regain his PGA Tour card through the Nationwide Tour, and will likely make a return trip to Q-School.
Then theres Frank Nobilo, the 1997 champion, who was forced into early retirement due to a shoulder injury.
Aside from Nobilo, the rest of the aforementioned champions will be returning to North Carolina, though doing so during a different time of the year. After 64 years as a spring tournament, the event has moved to the cooler climate of fall.
The purse is $4.5 million, with $810,000 going to the winner.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Chrysler Classic of Greensboro
  • More PGA Tour Preview Information