Stadler Looks to Get on a Roll

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04 Outback Steakhouse Pro-AmCraig Stadler heads up Florida's west coast in search of his second straight Champions Tour title at this weeks Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
 
Formerly known as the Verizon Classic, the tournament has a new title sponsor in Tampa, Fla.-based Outback Restaurants.
 
The pro-am format will mix the 78-player field with celebrities and amateurs in a format similar to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
 
Another strong field has been assembled this year. They will be hard pressed to top last week's sudden death playoff victory by Stadler over 2003 Player of the Year Tom Watson and Gary Koch.
 
Stadler, who has only been eligible to play on the senior circuit for less than a year, already has amassed four tournament titles and nine top-10 finishes in the 16 events he's entered.
 
Although Watson is not teeing it up in Tampa this week, Stadler will still have to do battle with the likes of Champions Tour stalwarts Hale Irwin, Fuzzy Zoeller, Tom Kite and defending champions Bruce Fleisher.
 
Fleisher will try to do something no player has ever been able to accomplish, win the tournament in back-to-back years. 'Flash' has posted two wins, two seconds and a third while amassing $733,400 at this event.

CBS golf announcers Lanny Wadkins and Gary McCord will also be teeing it up as they set aside their microphones and jump inside the ropes for the week.
 
For Irwin, who holds the Champions Tour record for career victories with 38, the new tournament name could signal a better, if only slightly, outcome than from the previous two seasons. In both 2002 and 2003, the 58-year-old Irwin finished just one stroke out of a playoff, first to Doug Tewell and then last year to Bruce Fleisher.
 
The Golf Channel will air all three rounds live starting Friday at 1:30 PM ET, with nightly prime-time replays of each telecast beginning at 9 PM.
 
Related links:
  • TGC Airtimes

  • Full Coverage - Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am