The PGA TOUR announced their 2011 schedule and we are just 18 days away from the first tee shot on January 6, 2011, when the TOUR opens up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.
Ten PGA TOUR Events to Watch in 2011
Image via Wikipedia
Every year there are tournaments I look forward to. While the majors are the obvious choices, there are some other exciting tournaments to keep an eye on. Here are ten dates to put in your calendar:
- February 3-6, 2011: The Waste Management Phoenix Open. I have friends that go to this tournament every year because it's one of the biggest parties on the PGA TOUR. The 16th hole is one of the most entertaining in all of sports. Hit a good shot and you're rewarded with cheers. Miss the green and prepare to be heckled. Hunter Mahan is the defending champion.
- February 7-13, 2011: The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. It's at Pebble Beach, and it can be fun to watch some of the amateurs play. Dustin Johnson has won this event in 2009 & 2010. Can he make it three in a row?
- February 23-27, 2011: World Golf Championships- Accenture Match Play Championship. Played at the Ritz-Carlton GC in Marana, Arizona, this is the only match play event on TOUR and personally, I love it. I like to see the top 64 players go head to head and compete for the prize. If I ran the FedEx Cup Playoffs, I would make it this format. Match play is exciting and this tournament, like all WGC events, has a big purse attached to it. Ian Poulter won last year.
- *April 7-10, 2011: The Masters. Do I need to write anything here? Played at Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia, it's the first Major of the year. If you're a golfer, you will watch this. Even if you're not, you will probably catch some. Phil Mickelson won the green jacket last year but I think we will see a young gun win it in 2011.
- May 12-15, 2011: THE PLAYERS Championship. If there was a "5th Major", this would be it. Even if you don't know this tournament, you're familiar with the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The short par three offers one of the most challenging shots in golf to a narrow island green. If the wind picks up, it can be a real nightmare especially while trying to win a tournament. Last year it was Tim Clark who pulled out the victory but repeating here is nearly impossible.
- *June 16-19, 2011: The US Open. This is my favorite event. The US Open could be the most pure test in all of golf. The USGA believes even par should be good enough to win an event so they make the course as difficult as the best players in the world see all year. This year, Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, will challenge the worlds best. Graeme McDowell took home the prize in 2010 and with the way he has been playing, I wouldn't be surprised to see him late on Sunday in 2011.
- June 30-July 3, 2011: AT&T National. This pick might be selfish for me because of location. For the second year in a row, the tournament will be held at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. I was fortunate enough to play this top 100 golf course and think it should be a regular stop on the PGA TOUR. Only 24 players finished under par last year and although Justin Rose won the event, American Ryan Moore made this as exciting as any event I have seen in years past. A fun course and a great event.
- *July 14-17, 2011: The British Open. This might be the only event where the weather determines the winner. Held last year at St. Andrews in Scotland, this year Royal St. Georges Golf Club in England will play host to the world's best golfers. In 2010, we saw the unknown Louis Oosthuizen run away with the event and make a name for himself. Always an exciting event to watch and the beauty of Royal St. Georges will make this even more enjoyable.
- *August 11-14, 2011: The PGA Championship. The last major of the year will take place at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin Kaymer defeated Bubba Watson in a playoff to win but it may have all been overshadowed by Dustin Johnson grounding his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole. The Atlanta Athletic Club doesn't have as many bunkers as Whistling Straits but you can bet it will be entertaining.
- August 25-September 25, 2011: The FedEx Cup Playoffs. I don't think this is the best format for the playoffs but it's a start and last year was entertaining. It wasn't until the final hole of the playoffs that we had our winner, Jim Furyk. The month long grind forces players to play in four consecutive tournaments, something most top players rarely do. Predicting a winner is nearly impossible with the scoring system (Furyk even missed one event last year) but if it works out well, we could have drama right to the very end of the 2011 PGA TOUR season.
What's your favorite PGA TOUR event? Leave a comment!
* Denotes Major Tournament