2/27/2012 10:27:55 AM
Woods has never played the event as a professional. His only appearance came
in 1993, when he was an amateur at just 17 years old and failed to make the
cut. Woods added the event to his schedule as part of a three-week run of
events on the PGA Tour.
The Classic's field also includes Rory McIlroy, who is coming off a loss to
Hunter Mahan in the final of last weekend's WGC-Accenture Match Play
Championship. McIlroy would have ascended to No. 1 in the world with a victory
Sunday at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, but the reigning U.S. Open champion lost
to Mahan, 2 & 1.
Still at No. 2, McIlroy will be the highest-ranked player in the field, as
world No. 1 and 2006 champion Luke Donald is skipping the event.
Reigning Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, reigning British Open winner
Darren Clarke and world No. 3 Lee Westwood will also tee it up.
Last year, Rory Sabbatini earned a one-shot victory over Y.E. Yang. He managed
to shoot just even par during his final round, but it was enough for him to
record his sixth PGA Tour title.
Sabbatini opened the season by tying for ninth at the Hyundai Tournament of
Champions, but hasn't had a top-10 since. He has missed the cut at his last
three events, including last weekend's Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Sabbatini returns to defend his title, while the field includes 11 other
former champions -- including Camilo Villegas (2010), Yang (2009), Ernie Els
(2008), Vijay Singh (1999) and two-time titlist Mark Calcavecchia (1987, '98).
Golf Channel has the broadcast for the first two rounds, while NBC picks up
coverage on Saturday and Sunday.
Next week, the PGA Tour holds the Puerto Rico Open, which Michael Bradley won
for the second time last year. The PGA and European Tour will also in Miami
for the WGC - Cadillac Championship, where Nick Watney will defend his title.
PANAMA CLARO CHAMPIONSHIP - Panama Golf Club, Panama City, Panama - The
Nationwide Tour returns from a short hiatus to hold the second of three
season-opening events outside the United States.
Last year, the event served as the Tour's season-opener and was won by Mathew
Goggin. He earned a two-shot victory over Darron Stiles for his third
Nationwide win. It was the first of two victories in 2011 for the Australian,
who went on to win the Wichita Open in June.
Goggin will not return to defend his title, as he earned a PGA Tour card by
finishing third on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2011.
However, the field will include Skip Kendall, who won the Colombia
Championship two weeks ago. He shot even par in the final round to hold on for
a one-shot victory against Andrew Svoboda and Andres Gonzales.
Former champions Fran Quinn (2010), Vance Veazey (2005, '09) and Scott Dunlap
(2008) are also in the field.
Next week, the Nationwide Tour travels to Santiago to the Chile Classic, which
is new this year. It is the first official PGA Tour-sanctioned event in Chile.
Following that, the Nationwide Tour takes another week off before resuming
with the Louisiana Open from March 22-25. Brett Wetterich is the defending
champion of that event.