Golf Today - Over 80000 pages of golf information
Golf News
 

Strong field set for Harbour Town
April 21, 2011

Initial fears that a later date on the PGA Tour schedule would weaken the field for The Heritage this week have proved unfounded with seven of the world’s top 20 set to take part.

Last year, the event attracted only five of the top 20 players when it was held in its traditional slot the week after the Masters, the year’s opening major.

Fast forward 12 months and one extra week, and British world number three Luke Donald will head a strong lineup in Thursday’s opening round as he and his rivals vie to don the tartan jacket awarded to the winner on Sunday.

The Heritage is still The Heritage, with a relaxed and celebratory atmosphere on the demanding Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus-designed course.

The layout forces sculpted shots around, over and in between oak trees and culminates with a wind-blown finish along Calibogue Sound.

“I’ve always said that I think the week after the Masters has been overplayed with players coming in,” American Jim Furyk, the defending champion who is playing in his 13th Heritage, told reporters on Wednesday.

“I love the event and I’ve always said it didn’t matter what week of the year it was for me, I always want to come here and play because I love the course.

“For some of the European players or foreign players, we drew a couple extra of them,” Furyk said, referring to previous years when the Heritage was held the week after the Masters.

“But I saw Graeme McDowell here and Ian Poulter here, so it didn’t seem to hurt them from that perspective. It’s a good package to have (the Masters and Heritage) together, but it doesn’t bother me either way.”

Apart from Donald, other top contenders this week include British world number five McDowell, 10th-ranked American Matt Kuchar, Furyk (13th) and South African Ernie Els (15th).

Also competing at the picturesque Harbour Town Golf Links are five-time champion Davis Love III, double champion Stewart Cink and former Masters winners Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson and Mike Weir.

Since 1983, when the tournament was first held in the week after the Masters, it has attracted a formidable contingent of players eager to decompress amidst the moss-draped oak trees and the alluring beaches of the South Carolina coast.

This week, however, could showcase the final Heritage as the event has no title sponsor and it has been more than a year since Verizon ended its 24-year sponsorship.

“This one is a special case where you have no sponsor, but a lot of players want to play it anyway,” American Mark Wilson said. “You look at the field and it’s a great field.”

Should the Heritage return in 2012, tournament director Steve Wilmot and PGA Tour officials have said it would regain its familiar slot immediately after the Masters.

Kuchar, who has played at Harbour Town in eight of the last nine years, said the date change for this week had made it more difficult to fit into his playing schedule.

“It’s a great follow-up to Augusta. It’s easy to drive,” Kuchar added. “(This year it’s) a bit of a mess with the tour schedule …. Travel, even though it is as easy as we can make it these days, is still not that enjoyable.”








Flash Sales!
30% off Golf Care Golf Insurance...

Stuart Barber Blog
All Change for 2015...... Or Where do we go from here?

What's in the Bag?
What the winners are playing on Tour worldwide.

© Golftoday.co.uk 1996-2017 - Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy - About Us - Advertise - Classifieds - Newsletter - Contact Us