Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Lowdown:

The second tournament of the 2013/2014 PGA Tour, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, gets underway this week at the TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.

The tournament has assumed new significance this year, as it no longer forms part of the now-defunct PGA Tour Fall Series.

Instead, it will award full FedEx Cup points, giving some lesser names and Web.com Finals Series graduates the chance to get their seasons off to a fast start.

That said, the field does contain some big names, including Presidents Cup players Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Graeme DeLaet and Hideki Matsuyama.

The tournament started life in 1983 as the Panasonic Las Vegas Celebrity Classic, and the likes of Greg Norman, Fuzzy Zoeller and Tiger Woods have been successful in this event under its various guises.

The TPC Summerlin, which made its PGA Tour debut in 1992, is one of the circuit’s easier courses. Last year’s scoring average was 69.713, or 1.287 strokes under par.

Tournament: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Date: October 17-20
Course stats: par 71, 7,223 yards
Purse: $6,000,000
Defending Champion: Ryan Moore

TV Coverage:

Thursday October 17 from 10pm, Sky Sports 2
Friday October 18 from 10pm, Sky Sports 2
Saturday October 19 from 9.30pm, Sky Sports 2
Sunday October 20 from 10pm, Sky Sports 3

Player Watch:

Hideki Matsuyama – The Japanese sensation made a fine debut at the Presidents Cup and finished inside the top 10 at last week’s Frys.com Open.

Brendon de Jonge
– The burly Zimbabwean impressed on debut at the Presidents Cup and finished in second place at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last year.

Robert Garrigus
– Garrigus was slightly underwhelming last season but he played well last week at the Frys.com Open. He also has a good record in Las Vegas.

Key hole: the 560-yard par-5 16th generally ranks as one of the easier holes on the course. It’s reachable in two for most of the field and players will feel they need to pick up a shot here.

Skills required: making birdies. TPC Summerlin is the second-easiest par-71 course on the PGA Tour roster, so players will need to be firing at pins to contend.