The Players Championship usually has one of strongest fields of the year, and the PGA Tour's main event has long been dubbed "the fifth major." But two of the top 10 players in the world — current World No. 1 Lee Westwood and seventh-ranked Rory McIlroy — have already said they're skipping the event at TPC Sawgrass. Asked how he was supposed to defend his clients, Andrew "Chubby" Chandler, who manages Westwood and McIlroy, was quick to dismiss the Players's importance to European players.
'Shrek' comes to L.A. It's hard to call British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen a rookie, but it is his first year as a PGA Tour member, and he's making his debut this week at the Northern Trust Open.
Oosthuizen got the nickname "Shrek" due to a gap in his front teeth, but Bill Dwyre of the L.A. Times says Oosthuizen doesn't mind the nickname, even though he got rid of the headcover.
Shrek is a star now, the 2010 British Open champion, winner of that grand event at no less than the symbolic cradle of golf, the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland.
He also has a new head cover for his driver — the animated ogre has been replaced, as has his own image. But the 28-year-old from South Africa may be the last to totally understand that.
"It [the Shrek head cover] was tearing apart," he says, implying that it had a home in his bag as long as it endured. "I've got a big South African rugby cover now. I'm quite a big fan of them."
Seven months ago, Oosthuizen was just another pro golfer, teeing off in early morning mist for a gallery of dozens. If there were more than that, it was because he was playing in a group with somebody golf fans had heard of. He was ranked No. 54 in the world, played almost exclusively in Europe, and could have been ranked No. 920 for all the Tiger-centric golf world cared.
Seven months later, he will be walking the fairways at Riviera Country Club in the Northern Trust Open, and his British Open title will make him an attraction for fans, not an afterthought.
Tiger Who? Every year Tiger Woods gets criticized for not playing Riviera — a course close to his hometown and the site of his first PGA Tour start in 1992. But as Golf Channel's Randell Mell points out, tournament director Jerry West has put together an impressive field even without Woods.
The Northern Trust Open features five of the top-10 players in the world and 30 of the top 50. That’s one more top-10 player and nearly four times the number of top-50 players than the much-hyped Dubai Desert Classic featured last week.
Tweet of the Day
@Graeme_McDowell: Sitting in Orlando airport. Flying up to a place where I played lots of golf, drank a few beers and went to a few classes. Birmingham, AL.