At the tournament, the field is not quite what it used to be. The TPC at Avenel is a nice course and the players love here it but the timing is not great for this event. Next week is The Memorial, in Columbus, Ohio, and it is a special week on the PGA Tour. Jack Nicklaus is the host ' 'nough said! Much like Arnold Palmers Bay Hill Invitational, when the Tour heads to Columbus, so do most of the big names. So The Kemper suffers, sandwiched between the two tournaments in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and Jacks event, a nice week for the players to take off.
Phil Mickelson is the only top-10 player in the world visiting our nations capital this time around. A few past champions are here to challenge the worlds No. 2. 1997 Kemper champion Justin Leonard, 1996 champ Steve Stricker, defending champion Tom Scherrer along with some notables like John Daly, Lee Janzen and Scott Hoch will all be looking to get in the winners circle. The Kemper is, in fact, a first-time winners paradise - since 1983 nine players have made The Kemper their first PGA Tour win, including Fred Couples and Greg Norman.
Also present this week is 1999 Ryder Cup captain Ben Crenshaw. The Texas native is a good friend of President Bush and got a pretty special invitation from the Prez - hes staying at the White House this week! The many-time major championship winner and Ryder Cup captain told us that he was still in awe of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Ben said he has been a long-time friend of the the President, but still could not believe he was invited stay there. (By the way, he thinks the bowling alley in the basement is pretty cool.)
Our crew went down to The White House Wednesday afternoon to shoot some video for Golf Central, and its still a thrill to see it in person. Being a Washingtonian Ive been fortunate to see the myriad of museums and monuments in this beautiful city, but at the nation's most famous residence I still found myself staring at it like a kid. Its quite a site.
As for a winner this week, I'm going with another first-timer. Watch out for lefty Greg Chalmers. Just a hunch. Thats it for now from Potomac, Maryland. Well see you on Golf Central each day covering the Kemper Insurance Open.