Nelson Seeks 1st Major at The Tradition


Larry Nelson was the 2000 Senior PGA Tour Player of the Year. He won six times. He earned over $2.7 million.
But there was one thing lacking from his resume ' a major championship victory.
This week, Nelson will try to avenge his playoff loss to Tom Kite at The Countrywide Tradition in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Nelson, who has 13 career Senior wins, missed a chance to collect his first major when he bogeyed the second hole of sudden death. That left the tournament in the hands of a pair of Toms ' Kite and Watson.
Six proved to be the lucky number for Kite. On the sixth playoff hole, Kite stuck a 6-iron to six inches for a tap-in birdie and his first major triumph since the 1992 U.S. Open.
The Tradition wasnt Nelson's only close call in 2000. He tied for second two weeks later in the seasons second major, the PGA Seniors Championship. However, Doug Tewell ran away with the tournament, winning by seven shots.
In the years final major, Nelson earned his third runner-up finish at the Ford Senior Players Championship. This time, he shot 67 in the final round to finish one shot back of Raymond Floyd, who shot 66 on Sunday.

This year has been a continuation of the last. Nelson won the first two events of the season, the MasterCard Championship and the Royal Caribbean Classic. Hes also tops on the money list with over $730,000.
But still, the major lingers.
To collect that elusive title, Nelson will have to defeat a host of major-caliber players. Kites back to defend; as is two-time Tradition winner Gil Morgan, four-time champion Jack Nicklaus, Bruce Fleisher and Hale Irwin.
Irwin has 30 career Senior victories to his credit ' a Tour record ' but none have occurred at this event. Hes won the Senior PGA three times, the U.S. Senior Open twice and Senior Players once.
But never The Tradition.
One notable exception from the field is Watson. Last years co-runner-up opted to play in the PGA Tours WORLDCOM Classic in Hilton Head, S.C.
News, Notes and Numbers
*This years purse is $1,700,000. The winner will earn $255,000 and there is no 36-hole cut.
*This is the 13th playing of The Tradition; all have been contested on the Cochise Course at Desert Mountain.
*Last year, Tom Kite became the 9th player to earn his maiden Senior victory in a major championship. Doug Tewell became the 10th at the 2000 PGA Seniors Championship. Jack Nicklaus also earned his first Senior win at The Tradition in 1990.
*Kites winning score of 8-under-par 280 last year was the highest in tournament history. The tournament record is 22-under-par 266, set by Gil Morgan in 1997.
*Nicklaus is the only player to win all four Senior majors. Hale Irwin, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer lack only The Tradition to their credit.
*This weeks dates for this event are the latest since 1989. That is due to the weather. In 1990, an ice storm postponed the opening round. In 1997, temperatures were in the low 40s, with winds blowing 20mph and rain falling. In 1998, another ice storm delayed the first round for 2 hours. In 1999, two days worth of snow reduced the event to 36 holes. And last year, lightning and rain on Friday twice suspended play and forced the second round to be completed Saturday morning.
This week's full field