Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Top Players Should Heat Up in Florida

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Top Players Should Heat Up in Florida

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits, Times-Union sports writer

The PGA Tour comes to Florida this week, starting with the Genuity Championship at the Doral Resort and Spa in Miami.

So far, it hasn't been a PGA Tour that most fans would recognize. Consider the events and personalities of the Tour's Western Swing, which concludes today with the Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa:

-- There are three first-time winners so far: Jerry Kelly at the Sony Open, Matt Gogel at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and Len Mattiace of Jacksonville at the Nissan Open. Last year, the Tour schedule was deep into May before the third first-time winner surfaced.

-- There are almost as many Spaniards in the top-five of the money list as Americans. Former University of Florida player Chris DiMarco led the money list entering the Match Play, followed by Jerry Kelly, Jose Maria Olazabal, Sergio Garcia and Kenny Perry.

-- To find world No. 1-ranked Tiger Woods on the money list, you must first pass Kenny Perry, Rory Sabbatini, David Berganio, Cameron Beckman and Kaname Yokoo. While Woods is second to John Daly in driving distance, he's 92nd in driving accuracy, 97th in total birdies and 134th in putting. Somehow, Woods is 23rd in scoring but that's after three consecutive seasons where he has won the scoring title.

-- The No. 2 player in the world rankings, Phil Mickelson, seemed steady enough when he won his first start at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, shooting a final-round 64. Since then, Mickelson has tied for 23rd, missed the cut in two stroke-play events, and been bounced in the first round of the Match Play by 44-year-old John Cook. In his last eight stroke-play rounds, Mickelson has shot in the 60s twice and over-par six times.

-- No. 3 David Duval has played only four times through a combination of illness and personal reasons, and like Woods and Mickelson, lost in the first round of the Match Play. Duval is at least playing well under the circumstances: He has scored in the 60s in 7-of-12 rounds, was in contention entering the final round of the Nissan Open when he was knocked for a loop by food poisoning and was 4 under in 20 holes against Kevin Sutherland in his first-round Match Play loss three days later. …

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