Final lead up to British Open for many at Western Open
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2003 100th Western Open | Preview | 01 Jul 2003
With the British Open just two weeks away and many players looking to take the week prior to that event off, the Western Open becomes the final leadup event for many of the fancied chances at Royal St Georges.
As a consequence, a field befitting an event with the history and tradition of the Western Open has assembled for this week’s tournament at the Dubsdread course which forms one of the four courses at the multi golf course, Cog Hill Golf and Country Club, just south of Chicago. The courses are public access facilities.
The event was first played in 1899 and was played over many different venues until settling initially at Butler National in 1974, then to Cog Hill in 1991. The course was opened in 1964 and designed by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee. Wilson also received recognition for such courses as the Blue Monster at Doral, Laurel Valley, La Costa and Bay Hill. He died just a year after the opening of this the fourth course at Cog Hill.
The course measures 7224 yards and features bent greens and fairways.
What a lineup this week. Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, David Toms, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard and Jerry Kelly to name but a few of the leading stars. The defending champion is Jerry Kelly who won by two from Davis Love III last year. Love is not playing this week. The event also serves as a final qualifying event for the US based players for the British Open with the leading eight players here, not otherwise exempt, getting a start at The Open. The event also signals an end to a series of tournaments from the Players Championship until now, from which the leading seven players in that series, not otherwise exempt and inside the top 25 of that accumulative money list, will also be at Royal St Georges.
Tiger Woods has won the event twice in 1997 and 1999, Scott Hoch was the winner in 2001 and Robert Allenby the winner in 2000.
Australasians in the field are Robert Allenby, Steve Alker, Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers, Mathew Goggin, Scott Laycock, Peter Lonard, James McLean, Geoff Ogilvy, Rod Pampling, Anthony Painter, Craig Perks and John Senden. Gavin Coles awaits a start from the reserve bench.
Peter Lonard was the leading Australian last year in fifth place after a great weekend run of 68 and 65 and Allenby was tenth.