Willis Looks for Energy Boost at Tucson


While 64 of the worlds best players battle for a $1 million first-place prize at La Costa, the rest of the best are in Arizona for the Touchstone Energy Tucson Open.
The joint event offers 144 players a chance at a $540,000 payday, and a two-year PGA Tour exemption.
Thats exactly what rookie Garrett Willis earned in 2001. Willis, playing in his first event as a card-carrying member on the tour, sank a six-foot par putt in the final round to deny Kevin Sutherland ' in his sixth season on tour ' his maiden victory.
Here I am, a month out of Q-School, and I went there not knowing where I was going to be playing this year, and now Im a PGA (Tour) winner, Willis said following his triumph. What a country this is.
Last years tournament was extended to Monday, due to snow and rain Friday.
The North Carolina native quickly learned, however, that things were not as simple as they seemed.
Willis, now 28, made only 11 cuts over his next 32 starts. He finished the season 77th on the money list, adding just $144,038 to his hefty first-week paycheck.
This event is accustomed to sharing the spotlight. It was played opposite the Mercedes Championships last year, and the same week as the Match Play Championship the prior two years.
The Omni Tucson National Golf Resort and Spa will be the exclusive venue this year. Like the tournament, itself, the par-72 course shared the scene with another, The Gallery Golf Club, a year ago.
Full field and tee times