Two of Orlandos golf clubs, Lake Nona and Isleworth, have the lions share of the top pros. Both clubs, coincidentally, have the same ownership ' the Tavistock Corp. So it was natural that the clubs would eventually have a competition. The rivalry begins March 29-30 (Live on TGC at 1:00 p.m. ET; Re-airs at 7:30 p.m.) when the first Tavistock Cup presented by Hughes Supply, Inc., is played.
Mark OMeara will be captain of the Isleworth team and Ernie Els will captain the Lake Nona crew. OMeara has struck the first blow, a little psychological gambit, by saying that, You know, weve got to play well to beat them, because I think their team is a little bit better than ours.
Joining OMeara on the Isleworth team will be Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Darren Clark, John Cook, Scott Hoch, Charles Howell III, Lee Janzen and Craig Parry.
The other members of the Lake Nona team are Nick Faldo, Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Annika Sorenstam and Sven Struver.
The two-day Tavistock Cup is scheduled to be televised live on The Golf Channel in the United States, Canada, and BSKYBs Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.
Its not like the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, said Els. This is for bragging rights in Orlando.
OMeara has an underlying reason why he assumed the captaincy. He said, only half-jokingly, that he certainly is aware that the Ryder Cup will be played in 2006 in Europe.
Maybe if our team does well, the PGA of America will look at that and say, Hey, maybe Mark OMeara will be good for that job over in Ireland, he said.
The No. 1 name in golf ' Tiger Woods ' lives in Orlando and is a member at Isleworth. He will not play in the Tavistock Cup, however. Though he has not given a reason publicly, it is understood that he is bound by contract to play non-tour events in the U.S. only on the ABC network, which shares ownership with the Walt Disney Corp. Woods has a lucrative endorsement contract with Disney.
The Tavistock has been in the making since last summer. Look at the players who play on the PGA Tour or worldwide golf that are members of our clubs, said OMeara. So ' its pretty unique. I dont think theres anyplace else in the world that has the players of this quality in two clubs. The players are there because they are welcomed there, its obviously a secured environment, its a great place to practice.
There is such a large amount of players that, embarrassingly, Parry was omitted when the competition was first planned. Parrys prime residence is in Australia and the tournament organizer, Joe Lewis, claimed he didnt have Parrys telephone number in Sydney. However, Parry won the Doral event upon his return to the States and he was hurriedly added to the Isleworth delegation.
I think that was important, said OMeara. We had a couple of new developments ' Darren Clarke moved into the development, and hes a high-ranked world player. Then we had a little situation where we had too many guys.
My suggestion to Mr. Lewis and the tournament committee was, I dont want to be the guy who says who does play and who doesnt play. But Craig Parry has lived in Isleworth a long time, about as long as Ive lived there. He won at Doral, and I said, He needs to play, and if its him playing one day and me playing one day, Im happy to do that.
John Cooks been injured, so we talked about it, John was more than receptive, play one day and let Craig play the other day.
Sorenstam is in a similar playing situation. She will be between two tournaments in California and will make a transcontinental flight back home to Orlando to participate for one day, then scramble to the airport to fly back to the West Coast the next day. She and Struver will alternate days for the Lake Nona team.
Weve got Annika playing over there, weve got uniforms and everything, so its going to be good. Theres going to be some ribbing going on, OMeara said with a laugh. Its a little bit competition, a little bit exhibition.
The teams will play for total prize money of $2.5 million ($1.5 million purse with an $1 million in par-3 prizes.) Lake Nona is the location.
The first team to accumulate 12-1/2 points wins. Each player on the winning team will receive $100,000, and each player on the losing team will receive $50,000. In addition, there will be a $100,000 purse for the low individual score on Day 2 of $50,000 for first place, $30,000 for second and $20,000 for third.
Entire team prizes will be awarded for spectacular individual performance on any of the four par-3 holes. If a player makes a hole-in-one, the player wins the prize and a prize for all seven of their individual teammates. BMW automobiles, Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Nautiques by Correct Craft performance boats are the individual and team prizes for these holes.
Also, there will be a $10,000 cash award to each member of the team with the highest number of eagles throughout the two-day event.
The Tavistock Cup will not be open to the public.
Therell be a little yapping going on out there, said OMeara. No player in their right mind enjoys losing.
On the other hand, were not going to stay in that mode. If Lake Nona wins, thats great. And if we win, thats fine, too. There WILL be some ribbing going on.
Eight players from each team play each day, with eight points
available under the first days fourball (better-ball) medal
patchplay format. Under that format, the two-person team with the
lowest 18-hole better-ball total wins the match.
On Tuesday, the players will go out in foursomes and play singles
matches against each of the opposing two other players in their
foursome. Essentially, each player plays two singles matches with
16 points up for grabs.
The pairings are:
Els-Struver (LN) vs.
Faldo-Immelman (LN) vs.
Howell III-Cook (I)
Poulter-Rose (LN) vs.
Goosen-Garcia (LN) vs.
Tuesday (Fourball Singles)
Goosen (LN) vs. Clarke (I)
Garcia (LN) vs. Appleby (I)
Goosen (LN) vs. Appleby (I)
Garcia (LN) vs. Clarke (I)
Poulter (LN) vs. OMeara (I)
Faldo (LN) vs. Parry (I)
Poulter (LN) vs. Parry (I)
Faldo (LN) vs. OMeara (I)
Immelman (LN) vs. Howell III (I)
Rose (LN) vs. Hoch (I)
Immelman (LN) vs. Hoch (I)
Rose (LN) vs. Howell III (I)
Els (LN) vs. Allenby (I)
Sorenstam (LN) vs. Janzen (I)
Els (LN) vs. Janzen (I)
Sorenstam (LN) vs. Allenby (I)