Thats because most of the competitors are 40 and over. Host Norman and his partner, Steve Elkington, are both in their 40s. So are the defending champions, Lee Janzen and Rocco Mediate. Craig Stadler and Peter Jacobsen are paired up, as are Tom Kite and John Houston. Nick Faldo crosses over the Atlantic to team with Fred Funk. All are over 40.
The 40-year-olds know how to play, asserted Mediate. We have been around. I know I'm a hundred times better than I was 10 years ago - just by what I know and how I get around the golf course now.
I also think that this long ball thing has gone away a little bit. At first everyone is trying to hit it 40 yards further. You can't play it because it goes over there and over there. I think that's going away a little bit, which it should. It doesn't matter how you make a score.
Florida Southern teammates Mediate and Janzen had the right combination last year when they got the victory. An 8-iron by Janzen at the final hole died just three feet from the hole. Mediate sunk the birdie putt in the scramble competition, leading to the one-shot win over a couple of youngsters, Matt Kuchar and David Gossett, and the veteran pair of Huston and Jeff Maggert. Kuchar and Gossett arent entered this year, nor is Maggert.
Janzen, a two-time U.S. Open champion, said his strategy for the event was simple.
'I want to hit a great shot, get it as close as I can, make birdie, win the tournament, no playoff,' Janzen said.
He accomplished all five with one swing.
'I knew he was going to do something silly there,' Mediate said. 'I had a feeling he was going to hit it about five or six feet.'
McCarron and Faxon have had uncommonly good success at the tournament, beginning with the years when it was played in Southern California. They teamed for a playoff victory over Carlos Franco and Scott Hoch in 2001. They also have won with different partners -- McCarron with Bruce Lietzke in 1997 and Faxon with Fred Couples 1994.
Tournament play begins Friday and runs through Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples.
They will play alternate shot on Day 1; better-ball on Day 2; and a scramble Sunday.
Here are the teams scheduled to compete:
Greg Norman / Steve Elkington
Lee Janzen / Rocco Mediate
Kenny Perry / Scott Hoch
Rich Beem / Mark Calcavecchia
Craig Stadler / Peter Jacobsen
Mark O'Meara / John Cook
Shaun Micheel / Chad Campbell
Nick Faldo / Fred Funk
Tom Kite / John Huston
Jeff Sluman / Hank Kuehne
Brad Faxon / Scott McCarron
Paul Azinger / Olin Browne