Reno hosts Modified Stableford event
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 Reno-Tahoe Open | Preview | 29 Jul 2014
The focus of world golf will be very much on the Firestone Country Club and the WGC Bridgestone event this week but for those who have not qualified to play in the huge money event in Ohio they get an opportunity to play for a $US 3 million purse in a modified stableford event in Reno, Nevada.
The renamed Barracuda Championship at the Montreux Golf and Country Club will utilise the modified stableford format for the second occasion and is the only event on the PGA Tour that does.
The former International Tournament in Colorado popularised the format, providing a point of difference and a departure from the norm for the PGA Tour and given that it is up against the WGC Bridgestone it might be just the difference it needs to gain an audience.
Gary Woodland took advantage of his length last year to win by nine points over Andres Romero and Jonathan Byrd.
The Modified Stableford system provides great swings and roundabouts with the possibility of a lot of points being made up in a few holes.
In another time and another place Nick Watney would be a walk up start to play the WGC Bridgestone Invitational but his game is not what it used to be at present. He put together a better tournament last week in Canada and is one of the classier players in this field but he is still well below his best.
Andres Romero finished runner-up in this event last year and has been putting some solid tournaments together of late against stronger fields than that he will face this week.
J.J. Henry won the Reno Tahoe Open a couple of years ago and although he has not contended a lot of late he has made a lot of cuts. His liking of the golf course might assist him to a good week although he did miss the cut in this format last year.
Brendan Steele missed the cut at the Open Championship but here had been a couple of good tournament in earlier weeks including when 5th in Hartford and Washington. Steele finished 4th last year and appears a good prospect.
Michael Putnam had a great season on the Web.Com Tour last year and appears now to be finding his feet on the PGA Tour, his 4th last week in Canada clear evidence of just that.
The Australians are headed by Aaron Baddeley, Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Greg Chalmers, Oliver Goss, Rod Pampling, Nathan Green and Bronson La Cassie.
Allenby was much better last week when 20th in Canada while Pampling has won under this format previously, the International in Colorado one of his two PGA Tour titles.