While most of golf's biggest names are skipping the event in Verona, N.Y., to rest up for next week's Presidents Cup in Montreal, the $6 million purse ($1.08 million for the winner) was enough to get the attention of several players who are looking to work their way up in the PGA Tour money list. The top 125 players in the standings retain full exemptions for Tour events in 2008.
The field at Atunyote Golf Club includes six players who recorded PGA Tour victories this year: Woody Austin, Brian Bateman, Fred Funk, Joe Ogilvie, Brandt Snedeker and Nick Watney. Also set to tee it up are major tournament champions John Daily, Todd Hamilton, Lee Janzen and Justin Leonard.
John Rollins, who won last year's Tour event on the course - the B.C. Open was moved to Atunyote due to flooding at En-Joie Golf Club - said there's no doubt that this tournament has a deeper field than the one he bested on the same course a year ago.
"Last year was opposite the British Open, so you had all the top 50 in the world, top-ranked players over at the British," Rollins told reporters. "It was still a good field - great golf course, great tournament - and this year, I think a lot of the players have heard so many good things from last year that they, you know, it's generated a good feel."
The prize money doesn't hurt either, Rollins said.
"A $6 million purse is big for one of the first of the Fall Series here," Rollins said. "You know, because of that, you get the better named players to show up. So it should be a good event."
Another widely recognized player set to play this week is Presidents Cup selection Stuart Appleby, who deviated from his original plans to play in the tournament.
"I was planning on playing the Tour Championship last week, but I guess I didn't play well enough, didn't play well through the FedEx format or even earlier to qualify to get a better ranking," Appleby told reporters. "But (I) certainly didn't get the job done in the Cup chase points, and it left me needing a little bit more high-quality golf. That's basically why I came here."
Nick O'Hern will join Appleby as a Presidents Cup selection in the field. That's another feather in the cap of the Turning Stone Resort Championship, said New York native Joey Sindelar.
"It's great stuff," Sindelar said during Wednesday's press conference. "This is golf at this time of the year in New York state and the people, the golf fans, are going to love seeing guys like that."
• SITE: Verona, N.Y.
• SCHEDULE: Sept. 20-23
• COURSE: Atunyote Golf Club at Turning Stone Resort (7,315 yards, par 72)
• PURSE: $6 million (winner's share: $1.08 million)
• TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m. EDT, 9 p.m.-midnight EDT)
September 20, 2007
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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