The PGA Tour’s Fall Series begins this week with the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Kevin Na defends the title at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.
This is the last time the Fall Series will be played. In 2013 the PGA Tour season will end with the Tour Championship and after that the new-look 2013/2014 season will begin.
With the FedEx Cup, the Majors and WGC events all concluded, the objectives of the players in this event have shifted. Some will be trying to make the top 125 to secure playing rights for next year. Others will be aiming higher – the top 30 in the money list at the end of the season earn an invite to the Masters for instance.
This tournament began life in 1983 as the Panasonic Las Vegas Celebrity Classic – an event won by Fuzzy Zoeller. In various guises, including the Las Vegas Invitational and Invensys Classic, the competition has been won by Greg Norman, Tiger Woods (his first PGA Tour victory back in 1996) and Jim Furyk amongst others.
Last year it was Kevin Na who came out on top, he finished two clear of his fellow American Nick Watney.
Opened for play in 1991, the TPC at Summerlin was designed by Bobby Weed assisted by Fuzzy Zoeller. It’s an oasis in the desert at the heart of Summerlin – a 22,000 acre residential estate at the western edge of Las Vegas.
It’s a relatively easy course – only eight were easier on the 2011 PGA Tour – and, with good weather forecast, scoring is likely to be low. Watch out for a birdie-fest.
Venue: TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: October 4-7
Course stats: par 72, 7,243 yards
Purse: $4,500,000 Winner: $810,000
Defending Champion: Kevin Na (-20)
Thursday 4 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 9.30pm
Friday 5 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 9pm
Saturday 6 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 9pm
Sunday 7 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 9pm
Nick Watney – He was second in this event last year, he lives in Las Vegas and he won just over a month ago at The Barclays. His form-card looks good.
Ryan Moore – Went to college in Las Vegas, has a good record in this tournament and was tied third in the Tour Championship. He was also tied 10th in both the Deutsche Bank and the BMW – he’ll surely contend this week.
Robert Garrigus – He posted top-10 finishes in the last two FedEx Cup playoff events and he also has a fine record in this event – no missed cuts in six starts. He’s a huge hitter and makes a good number of birdies – key to success here.
Key hole: 16th. A par 5 of 560 yards it generally ranks as one of the easiest holes on the course. It’s reachable in two for long hitters so birdies are common. The players will feel they need to pick one up here and if they don’t coming down the stretch, they could fall back.
Skills required: Going low. This is a course that produces good scoring. Last year Kevin Na’s winning total was 23-under-par and 74 men broke par for four rounds. Expect the winner to be 20-under or better again this time out.
European Tour – Alfred Dunhill Links Championship preview