Furyk and Company Ready for Buick Battle

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2006 Buick OpenGRAND BLANC, Mich. -- The Buick Open will be without its defending champion and top Buick sponsor, Tiger Woods.
 
Woods is skipping this event to remain at home with his wife and newborn child.
 
Last year when he won, Woods was coming off an emotional win at the British Open, his first win after the death of his father.
 
Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk has been a model of consistency at the Buick Open. (Wire Images)
Woods claimed his second title at this event last year as he carded four straight rounds of 6-under 66 to beat Jim Furyk by three strokes. His win came after Vijay Singh had won the last two titles at Warwick Hills.
 
It was the 50th win of Woods' career. Since then, Woods has raised his win victory total to 57.
 
Low scores are the norm at Warwick Hills as seven of the last eight winners have posted totals in the 260s (19 under or better).
 
Billy Mayfair established a PGA TOUR record here in 2001 for the best birdie-eagle streak in TOUR history. Mayfair went 9 under (B-E-B-B-B-B-B-B) en route to posting a 9-under 27 as part of his final-round 61.
 
The GOLF CHANNEL will broadcast three hours of action the first two days, while CBS has three hours of action the final two days.
 
Next up for the PGA TOUR is the inaugural AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, where Woods will serve as the tournament host.
 
With GOLFCHANNEL.coms Tour Trade 2 fantasy game underway, here are some of the players who have fared the best in recent years at the Buick Open.
 
Jim Furyk
Starts: 12
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 7
Best finish: Win (2003)
 
TRADE Talk: Furyk comes to Warwick Hills with a chip on his shoulder and the confidence of knowing he is the man to beat this week. Starting in 2001, Furyk has reeled off six straight top-10 finishes here counting his win in '03 and two runner-up showings, including last year.
 
Scott Verplank
Starts: 19
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 4
Best finish: Win (1988)
 
TRADE Talk: Verplank is quitely putting together one of the best season of his career, especially after his win at the Byron Nelson, an event he calls his fifth major. On the strength of that victory, Verplank has strung together three top-10s in his last three starts and comes into the Buick after a tie for fourth in 2006. He has won this event, but the victory came almost 20 years ago.
 
Kenny Perry
Starts: 14
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 2
Best finish: Win (2001)
 
TRADE Talk: Perry was in a downward spiral following arthroscopic knee surgery in March of last year, and his 2007 season was getting so bad he even had thoughts of early retirement. But a swing tip from Tommy Armour III at the Memorial has quickly righted the ship. He went on to a third-place finish at Jack's event and then came back with a tie for 15th at the Travelers. He has shown great consistency at Warwick Hills with six straight top-30s.
 
Sean OHair
Starts: 2
Wins: 0
Top-10s: 2
Best finish: T-4 (2006)
 
TRADE Talk: Perhaps best known this year for his meltdown on the 71st hole of THE PLAYERS Championship, it shouldn't hide the fact that he was playing phenomenal golf up until that point. He has twice played Warwick Hills and has twice finished in the top-10 -- last year joining Verplank in a tie for fourth.
 
Fred Funk
Starts: 16
Wins: 0
Top-10s: 6
Best finish: T-2 (2002)
 
TRADE Talk: Like his percentage of fairways hit, Funk's dependability in this event is excellent. In 13 consecutive starts, Funk has placed inside the top-25 each time, including five top-10s. The now 51-year-old Funk, who earlier this year became fifth-oldest player to ever win on the PGA TOUR with his win at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, is coming off a solid fifth-place showing at the Travelers.
 
Four more to keep an eye on this week at Warwick Hills:
 
John Daly
His frightening year-to-date stats read like this: 12 starts with eight missed cuts or withdrawals and not a single top-20 finish. But Daly did finish second here in 2004 and is coming off his win at the World TELUS Skins Game in Canada.
 
Chris DiMarco
DiMarco had a pair of runner-ups at the Buick Open to start the century and has recently made an adjustment to his famous claw grip that he says has improved his putting and confidence.
 
Brett Wetterich
In what was turning into a very forgettable Travelers Championship, Wetterich turned in quite a Phil Mickelson-like final round that might bode well heading into this week: seven birdies, an eagle and four bogeys. That followed a third round that showed eight bogeys, a double and not a single birdie.
 
Steve Marino
Without much fanfare, the rookie Marino has put up impressive numbers thus far this season, currently ranking 64th on the PGA TOUR money list with six top-25s and three top-10s.
 
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