Thursday, March 19, 2009

These guys are good, as the saying goes, but this rough is thick enough to swallow golf balls and shoestrings. The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort may not be auditioning to host a U.S. Open, but the USGA could do a lot worse than visiting this beast, where Sean O'Hair won a year ago with a 4-under-par-280.
Kenny Perry said Wednesday that if you hit your ball in the rough, you can all but forget about birdie and even par won't be a guarantee. I'll be watching to see who best navigates the landing areas on this course that plays one of the toughest each year.
There are some interesting groups to follow, too: K.J. Choi, Jim Furyk and Rory Sabbatini deserve a look-see, as does the group of Y.E. Yang, Retief Goosen and the aforementioned Perry. I was looking forward to checking out Vijay Singh, but he pulled out with soreness in his right knee, which was operated on in January. David Duval is here, paired with Steve Elkington and Nick O'Hern. Speaking of Nicks, Watney, fresh off his runner-up to Phil Mickelson at Doral, will tee off with Masters champ Trevor Immelman and Brian Gay.
The most fascinating player in the field? It's a tie. Spain's Alvaro Quiros, who is scary long off the tee and sports the Bob Murphy-style brim, will be a must-watch. I see a victory in his future and soon.
Finally, Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, age 17, will make his second PGA Tour start after missing the cut at Riviera last month. Ishikawa said he has been working on his accuracy. At the Copperhead Course, he's going to need it. 

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