Outback roll call
The first set of commitments to the Champions Tour's Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am April 18-20 at TPC of Tampa Bay in Lutz features seven out of the top 10 money leaders. Scott Hoch (1), Jay Haas (4), Jerry Pate (5), Brad Bryant (6), Allen Doyle (7), Loren Roberts (8) and Tom Kite (9) join defending champion Tom Watson. Other notables include Hale Irwin, Fuzzy Zoeller, Craig Stadler, Peter Jacobsen, Nick Price and Larry Nelson. The three-day tournament will feature 76 players and amateur partners. Actor Bill Murray and Scott Simpson won the team competition last year. Murray returns this year.
The most recent change to the PGA Tour cut policy allows for a secondary cut after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. Seventy-nine made the cut at Innisbrook last weekend, and the 54-hole cut to top 70 and ties eliminated eight players. That second cut, however, was not made until Sunday morning because of weather delays, so the final round featured threesomes on both tees. If the tour had stuck with the original change — closest number to 70 play the final two rounds — then 64 players would have advanced to the third round, and there would have been enough daylight to finish. "I find that ironic," said Paul Goydos, no fan of either change. "I find that hilarious."
LPGA in Mexico
The MasterCard Classic is the first of three LPGA Tour events in Mexico. The Corona Championship is next month in Morelia and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational is in November at Guadalajara. Ochoa and Violeta Retamoza are the tour's lone Mexican members. Retamoza earned her tour card with a fourth-place finish on the Futures Tour money list.
The PODS Championship had a stronger field than the Honda Classic, based on the world rankings, and only three of the top 10 are at Bay Hill. … David Toms is not eligible for the CA Championship on March 20 at Doral, the first time he has missed a World Golf Championship since 2000. … The Ballantine's Championship is the first European tour event in South Korea, with South Korean star K.J. Choi topping the field along with British Open champion Padraig Harrington, Chris DiMarco and Scotland's Sandy Lyle, who made his Champions Tour debut last weekend, tying for 51st in the California's Toshiba Classic.
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