Southern Farm Classic offers a chance to chase money
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2003 Southern Farm Bureau Classic | Preview | 02 Oct 2003
The Southern Farm Bureau Classic once again has to bear the burden of running alongside a competing event on the USPGA Tour. Last year it was the Tour Championship which took much of the glamour from the event and this year, the WGC American Express tournament will gain most of the interest from golf fans world wide.
For the 150 odd players who will line up in Madison, Mississippi however, there is plenty at stake. For the top-line players such as Stewart Cink, John Huston and Hal Sutton the chance to secure a win while the PGA Tour’s leading players are battling it out in Georgia and for those struggling to retain their cards, the chance to produce a good finish that so many of them need in order to have full playing privileges in 2004. Cink was 14th here last year and 13th last week so there is a lot to like about his chances here this week.
Luke Donald, the young Englishman who has impressed so much in his early professional career, will defend the title he won last year in his rookie season. His year to date hasn’t fulfilled the promise that 2003 suggested but there has been enough to indicate that a repeat performance would not be quite the same surprise it was last year.
The event is being played in Madison which is around 300 km north of New Orleans. The Annandale Golf Club measures 7200 yards and has G2 bentgrass greens but Bermuda in all other areas of the course. It was designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1981 and redesigned by the same man in 1998.
The Australasians are represented by Steve Allan, John Senden, Mathew Goggin, Craig Perks, Paul Gow, Scott Laycock, Greg Chalmers, Gavin Coles and Grant Waite.
Steve Allan and Craig Perks are the only Australasians in the field who are guaranteed, at this stage, of a place on the PGA Tour in 2004. Perks gets a place as a result of his TPC win in 2002 and Allan as he has now enough prize money to be safe.
For the others, however, they must take advantage of an event such as this, to try and build their earnings for the season towards the $US550,000 mark, give or take a few thousand, that appears likely to be needed when they call a halt to the money list chase in five weeks time. John Senden at US$540,000 is within striking distance and would only need to make two more cuts to be safe it would seem but for the rest they need something special, either this week, or in the remaining events in which they can get a start.
This event carries prizemoney of $US3,000,000.