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This week in golf - Top Tournaments

GENUITY CHAMPIONSHIP, Doral Golf Resort and Spa (Blue Course), Miami, Florida. Formerly called the Doral-Ryder Open, this year marks the 40th edition of this event. Last year, Jim Furyk erased a six-shot deficit over the last seven holes to defeat Franklin Langham by two shots. Furyk carded six birdies for a back-nine 30 on Sunday and earned his fifth career victory. He birdied the famous 18th at Doral while Langham carded a bogey at the same hole to post the two-shot win.

Greg Norman holds the record for the largest come-from-behind victory at this event, erasing a seven-shot deficit in 1990 with a course-record 62 and then winning the playoff against Paul Azinger, Mark Calcavecchia and Tim Simpson. Furyk and Ben Crenshaw are the only players to birdie the final hole for the victory.

Furyk is looking to become only the second player in this event's history to win back-to- back titles. Ray Floyd won this tournament in both 1980 and 1981. Furyk will be searching for his second title of the 2001 campaign as he outlasted Rory Sabbatini at the Mercedes Championship in January.

This year's field boasts 10 of the top-20 players in the World Golf Rankings, but not number-one Tiger Woods, who is competing in the Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour. There have been four playoffs in this event's history, the last coming in 1991 when Rocco Mediate defeated Curtis Strange.

Andy Bean, Floyd and Norman are the only three-time winners of this tournament. Hubert Green owns the tournament record for the widest margin of victory: six strokes over Mark Hayes and Jack Nicklaus in 1976.

Nicklaus will also be on hand for his 37th appearance. The "Golden Bear" has won the tournament twice, finished second five times, third twice and fourth twice and has 16 top-10 finishes. Fred Funk has made the cut in all eight tries at this event.

Greg Norman is a Blue Monster specialist. Allsport.

The "Blue Monster" of Doral Resort has hosted this event since its inception in 1962. Dick Wilson and Joe Lee designed the course back in 1961. Ray Floyd redesigned the course in 1996 and Jim McLean reworked and removed some of the bunkers around the course in 1999.

There have been only two wire-to-wire winners of this event, but none in the last 21 years. Lee Trevino led from start to finish in 1973 and Andy Bean led wire-to-wire in 1977. This event is the longest continuously running PGA Tour event in Florida.

The purse for this event has been increased by $1,500,000 to $4,500,000 with $810,000 to the winner. USA Network will carry the action on Thursday and Friday with NBC taking over on the weekend. Next week the PGA Tour moves to Coral Springs, Florida for the Honda Classic where Dudley Hart is expected to defend his title.

SENIOR TOUR

TOSHIBA SENIOR CLASSIC, Newport Beach Country Club, Newport Beach, California. Allen Doyle captured this event last year after a heavy downpour canceled the final round. Doyle had a one-shot lead over Jim Thorpe and Howard Twitty when an overnight rainfall forced officials to call off the last round and declare Doyle the champion.

The victory was Doyle's fifth in two years on the Senior Tour, with four coming in his rookie season in 1999, including the PGA Senior's Championship. Doyle is looking to become the first two-time winner of this event. George Archer owns the tournament record at 199 while Hale Irwin holds the course record with a 62.

Gary McCord won for the first time in more than 375 tries on both the PGA and Senior Tour when he outlasted Doyle, Al Geiberger and John Jacobs in a playoff in 1999. Newport Beach Country Club was originally known as Irvine Coast Country Club when it first opened in 1954.

William Bell designed the course in 1952, which has had redesign work by Harry Rainville and Ted Robinson.

Mesa Verde Country Club hosted this event in its first year. The purse was increased by $100,000 from last year to $1,400,000 with the champion pocketing $210,000. PAX has first-round coverage on Friday and CNBC will show tape-delayed action for the weekend. Next week, the Senior Tour will play the SBC Senior Classic and Joe Inman will be on hand to defend his title.

EUROPEAN TOUR

DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC, Emirates Golf Club (Majilis Course), Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Last year, Jose Coceres ended a six-year winless drought with a wire-to-wire victory at the Dubai Desert Classic. He double-bogeyed the 18th but still finished with a two-shot win over Paul McGinley and Patrik Sjoland. Coceres previous win prior to this event was the 1994 Heineken Open Catalona, his only other European Tour victory. Coceres will not be on hand this week to defend.

World-number-one Tiger Woods will be looking for back-to-back European Tour titles as he makes his first appearance at this tournament. In November, Woods captured the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand.

Seven of the top-10 in last year's Order of Merit will be on hand this week, including 2000 Order of Merit champion Lee Westwood, who will be making his 2001 season debut. The 2001 edition of this event marks the return to Emirates Golf Club after a two-year hiatus where play was held at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club.

Ernie Els set the tournament record of 268 in 1994 and Fred Couples matched the next year. Els also set the 18-hole record in this event in 1994 with a 61. Playoffs have decided three of the previous 12 tournaments, the last coming in 1997 when Richard Green outdueled Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam.

The Golf Channel has live coverage of all four rounds. The purse is $1,447,973 with $241,699 going to the winner. Next week the European Tour moves to Qatar where Rolf Muntz is expected to defend.


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