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Golf Australia Express : Issue 27
March 15-18 What’s happening on the PGA Tour this week PEEK THE FOUNDED IN 2000 as the Tampa Bay Classic, the Transitions Championship returns to the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort. And it’s pretty clear why the 7340-yard track with its magnificently tree- lined fairways has earned wide acclaim from many of the game’s elite. It’s blessed with one of the best finishing stretches in golf—the infamous ‘Snake Pit’—making the undulating Florida course a favourite on Tour. K.J. Choi and Retief Goosen’s steady games have worked a charm here, both taking the title twice, while former world No.1 Vijay Singh, who holds the event record at 18-under, has bagged a title, too. But this track can turn nasty pretty quickly. Entering the daunting Snake Pit—holes 16, 17 and 18—players face a succession of long, narrow and extremely challenging holes. And it’s here that Copperhead’s bite can turn lethal. Last year Webb Simpson’s bogey at the final hole handed Gary Woodland his first PGA Tour victory. OTG Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead), FL, USA Purse US$5,500,000 Defending Champ: Gary Woodland (USA) THE EVENT THE DEFENDER GARYWOODLAND wants to be known for more than his long hitting. But when you bomb it as far as this 27-year-old Yank it’s simply not gonna happen. Woodland averaged 310 yards off the tee in 2011—the 5th longest on Tour. That would’ve been a lot higher if he didn’t choose to hit 3-wood off so many tees. By breaking through for his first PGA Tour title at the 2011 Transitions Championship, Woodland showed he was more than just a freakishly long hitter. And while he’s yet to make a top 10 in 2012, returning to the scene of his sole win might just get those competitive juices flowing again.