The PGA Tour hits the East Coast for the primary time in 2004 when the Ford Championship area tees off this week on the Blue Monster course on the Doral Resort and Spa in Florida. After 9 occasions both in Hawaii or on the West Coast (together with the double up week final week) the travelling circus hits Miami with a handbag of US$5 million awaiting a area that maybe lacks the touraE™s main stars. Solely three gamers from the highest ten on this planet rankings are current. Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson and Kenny Perry are right here, however one latest winner, Ernie Els, is in Dubai the place he’ll once more do battle with Tiger Woods. Final yearaE™s winner Scott Hoch can also be right here however the man he beat within the playoff final 12 months, Jim Furyk, will not be. The 2003 US Open winner remains to be overcoming a wrist harm that has curtailed his early 2004 season. After a very good efficiency on the season opening Mercedes, the place he was eighth, Hoch has additionally performed on a restricted foundation up to now this season. The efficiency of Mickelson can be watched with curiosity. It’s not an occasion by which he has performed loads, actually the final time he was right here was 4 years in the past when he completed 21st, however his enterprise affiliation with Ford is little doubt the catalyst for his participation this 12 months. He would have performed final 12 months below the newly named Ford Championship, however was eager to be along with his spouse previous to the start of their third youngster. MickelsonaE™s kind is tough to dimiss after an excellent begin to 2004 with 5 high tens in 5 begins. He carried a maybe unfair tag early in his profession of an incapacity to win east of the Mississippi. That has very a lot modified though he has nonetheless just one win in Florida amongst the 22 PGA Tour victories to his identify, the Bay Hill occasion in 1997. A win right here and even one other high ten might be a pointer to only how properly he’s enjoying.
Retief Goosen, the very best ranked participant within the area, has additionally had a very good begin to the season, his first spherical loss finally weekaE™s Accenture his worst effort. He was fourth on the season opening Mercedes however has performed at Doral simply the as soon as in his profession. Often called the Genuity Championship in 2001 and 2002, the occasion has fairly a historical past going again to 1962 when it began life because the Doral CC Invitational Open. The winner that 12 months and once more in 1964 was Billy Casper, who 4 years later received the US Open and in 1970 was the Masters Champion. The course was initially designed in 1960 by Dick Wilson and Robert Von Hagge however underwent appreciable remodelling in 1996 below the attention of golfer Ray Floyd. Jim McLean, the pinnacle of the golf faculty on the aEoeBlue MonsteraE reworked the bunkering in 1999. The greens are Bermuda Tifdwarf Bermudagrass and the fairways 419 Hybrid Bermuda. Different gamers anticipated to be amongst the favourites listed here are David Toms, Chris DiMarco, Shigeki Maruyama and Kenny Perry. One participant nonetheless that needs to be watched is John Huston who invariably performs properly in both Florida or Hawaii. He appears to have the knack of Bermuda greens and the sometimes windy situations that prevail in these areas. He was a winner right here in 1994 and a runner up in 1998 and his early season kind has been good. Australians have an excellent report right here with each Greg Norman and Steve Elkington each having received on the Blue Monster on three events. Elkington can be right here, Norman is not going to, regardless of his suggestion earlier within the 12 months that he would play on a extra common foundation on the PGA Tour in 2004. Different Australasians entered are Steve Allan, Mark Hensby, Peter Lonard, who has his greatest PGA Tour end right here with a third in 2002, Rod Pampling, Craig Parry, Craig Perks and John Senden with New ZealandaE™s Grant Waite ready within the wings.