This Week in Golf — Apr. 29-May 3

PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP, TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, CA – The second World Golf
Championship event of the year is this week, and the event has a new sponsor,
a new date and a new location.

Cadillac takes over as sponsor for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship.
The event moves from its traditional February date to late April, early May.

The format change was rather dramatic. Instead of four groups of 16, there
will be 16 groups of four starting on Wednesday. Players will play for three
days in a round-robin setup instead of a single elimination setup.

The top-16 players in the world rankings were placed atop each pod. The
remainder of each pod were filled by blind draw. One player from the other
three groups, players ranked Nos. 17-32, Nos. 33-4 and the remainder, filled
out each group.

Winners of each pod will move to the round of 16 on Saturday, and there will
be two rounds on Saturday and Sunday. If there is a two-way tie in a pod,
head-to-head results will be used as a tiebreaker, and if there is a three-way
tie, a sudden-death playoff will be used to determine who advances.

With the top names sticking around for three days, there will be plenty of
intrigue. Even with the new format, the tournament will be hard pressed to
match last year’s event.

Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Victor Dubuisson and Ernie Els advanced to the
semifinals. Day took down Fowler and Dubuisson fended off Els to set up the
final match.

Day and Dubuisson had an epic battle that went 23 holes. Dubuisson got up and
down from the bushes twice to keep the match going.

Of the four semifinalists, only Els will not be on hand this week as he has
dipped to 82nd in the world rankings. Three of the top-64 in the world are not

Phil Mickelson withdrew due to unspecified reasons late Sunday. Luke Donald is
skipping the event to go to his brother’s wedding, while Tim Clark withdrew
due to an elbow injury. They were replaced by Mikko Ilonen, Miguel Angel
Jimenez and Francesco Molinari.

Finally, the tournament has a new location, the TPC Harding Park. The San
Francisco course hosted the WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2005 and the
Presidents Cup in 2009.

Golf Channel will have extensive coverage the first three days. On Saturday
and Sunday, Golf Channel will have early coverage before handing off to NBC.

The PGA Tour returns to Florida next week for the Players Championship, where
Martin Kaymer fended off Jim Furyk last year. The European Tour heads to
Mauritius for a new event, the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.


Texas – The LPGA Tour heads to Texas this week for the Volunteers of America
North Texas Shootout.

World No. 3 Stacy Lewis, a former resident of The Woodlands, cruised to
victory last year. She carded 7-under 64s in the second and final rounds en
route to winning by six strokes. The win was her ninth on the LPGA Tour.

Lewis’ 64s matched the course record that Caroline Masson and Hee Young Park
set in 2013, the event’s inaugural year. Lewis’ total of 268 bettered Inbee
Park’s record of 271.

Lewis, a three-time winner in 2014, has top-10 finishes in five of her last
six starts, and six of her eight events this year.

Last week, Lydia Ko successfully defended her title at the Swinging Skirts
LPGA Classic by defending Morgan Pressel in a playoff. Lewis, Ko and Pressel
are all in the field this week.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds.

After a week off, the LPGA Tour will be in Virginia for the Kingsmill
Championship, where Lizette Salas won by four strokes last year.


INSPERITY INVITATIONAL, The Woodlands Country Club, The Woodlands, Texas – The
Champions Tour returns to a regular stroke play event this week after last
week’s team tournament in Missouri.

Bernhard Langer carded a 1-under 71 in the final round last year and that was
enough to give him a 1-stroke win over Fred Couples. Couples, the 2010 winner,
carded a 5-under 67 in the final round to grab second place.

On a windy day, Langer bogeyed two of the last three holes to trim his winning
margin. Couples, who was two groups ahead of Langer, had also bogeyed No. 18
to end one back.

The win for Langer was his second of the season and 20th of his Champions Tour
career. He won three more titles later last year. Langer is winless in five
tour starts this season, but has finished inside the top-10 three times.

Golf Channel will cover all three rounds.

The Champions Tour is also off next week before returning to action with the
first major of the season, the Regions Tradition. Kenny Perry fended off Mark
Calcavecchia last year to win the third straight major that he competed in.


UNITED LEASING CHAMPIONSHIP, Victoria National Golf Club, Newburgh, Indiana –
Greg Owen grabbed an improbable win last year at the United Leasing

Owen started the final round seven strokes off the lead, and opened with a
triple-bogey at the first. He roared back into contention thanks to seven
birdies and an eagle.

The Englishman stumbled to a bogey at the last, then had to wait. Third-round
leader Mark Hubbard struggled all day. He also bogeyed the last to cap a round
of 3-over 75 and hand Owen his first Tour win.

Owen will not be on hand to defend his title, but all seven of this year’s
winners are slated to play.

Golf Channel has live coverage of the first two rounds, and tape-delayed
coverage of the final two rounds.

The Tour is off next week, but returns to action in two weeks with the
BMW Charity Pro-Am. Max Homa closed with an 8-under 63 last year to beat
Jonathan Randolph.