Tiger Woods went back to Orlando for some rest. Ernie Els headed to Europe. Rich Beem apologetically reneged on his commitment and went home to El Paso to belatedly celebrate his International and PGA Championship triumphs with friends and family.
For the most part, private planes and commercial aircrafts carrying professional golfers headed in every direction from Seattle Sunday night.
But while many of the top-ranked players are going into temporary hibernation, some of the hottest will make the relatively short trip across national lines into Surrey, British Columbia, outside of Vancouver. WGC-NEC Invitational runners-up Robert Allenby and Fred Funk, Vijay Singh, 1997 champion Mark Calcavecchia, 1999 winner Mike Weir and Darren Clarke are among those playing for at least a third straight week.
I havent been to Vancouver, and the tournament committee had been asking me to go play there for a long time, so I just decided to go and play there this year, Singh said at last weeks WGC-NEC Invitational.
Singh is a welcomed addition to this event, which is one of a handful of PGA Tour stops without a sponsor for next season. Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem wouldnt comment on the future of the Air Canada in a press conference at the NEC.
This is the seventh playing of what was originally called the Greater Vancouver Open. Joel Edwards is the defending champion, having cruised to a seven-shot victory ' his first in 11 years on tour.
Steve Lowery was the runner-up a year ago, and, based on recent performance, should be considered a favorite to move one step higher on the leaderboard this go-around.
Lowery has four top-10s in his last five starts, including a pair of seconds.
And don't forget Funk. The energetic 46-year-old has three runner-up finishes and a tie for fourth in the PGA Championship over his last five events.
'I promised the guys I would go up there and hopefully they can find a sponsor and save that tournament,' said Funk, who finished runner-up in this tournament in 1999.
History is against Funk and Lowery, however, as five of the six Vancouver champions have been first-time tour winners.
As it has on all six previous occasions, the Northview Golf and Country Club will play host. The purse is $3.5 million, with $630,000 going to the winner.
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