10 Ways to Watch the Open

10 Ways to Watch the Open

<bt>There are giant differences between watching professional golf on television and in person.

While television editors take viewers quickly through the action — stopping for glimpses at certain holes and certain golfers — golf spectators have to make certain choices on how they will watch.

More than 100,000 spectators, perhaps as much as 200,000 spectators, will flood Oaklyn Drive from June 5-8 to watch the 2003 FBR Capital Open, former the Kemper Insurance Open.

Many fans follow the big names or follow the players on the top of the leader board. Others like to sit at a favorite hole.

There are countless other ways to watch.

The following package is a simple guide to some of the ways fans can make the most out of June 2-8 at the Tournament Players Club at Avenel.

<ro>Go for the Hole

Whether great or small, each of the 18 holes at the TPC course at Avenel represents a challenge. The length of No. 3 is taxing for even the longest hitters. The water hazard on No. 17 has swallowed up more than a few Titleists. And the elevated tee-box on No. 9 plays tricks on the eye.

But perhaps no hole on the acreage offers a bigger risk — or reward — to golfers’ scorecards than No. 6.

A favorite viewing spot for many fans, the 520-yard par-5 is a prime example of a hole that leaves some golfers smiling at made birdies and eagles, while leaving others shaking their heads in disgust at double bogeys.

“It’s a [par-5] that most people do well on,” said Jay Dufty, head golf professional at TPC at Avenel. “But…it can come up and bite you.”

A classic example of the type of treasure or treachery found at the No. 6 was evident in the first round of last year’s tournament when the threesome of Chris DiMarco, Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Lehman navigated the hole in contrasting fashion.

Both DiMarco and Calcavecchia put their drives in the doglegging-right fairway while Lehman, a notable drawer of the ball from right to left, pulled his drive into the first cut of rough to the left.

At this point, the trio each had over 200 yards left to reach the green. Dufty said this is where decision-making more than shot-making comes into play.

“It’s a very narrow green,” Dufty said. “If the greens are firm and you’re hitting a 3-iron or 4-iron, it’s tough to receive the ball.”

DiMarco was the first to play and decided to go for the green in two.

With the threat of two bunkers in the back and Rock Run Creek snaking its way in front, DiMarco hit a fairway wood to the back of the green, eventually two-putting for a birdie.

Lehman, with little chance at keeping the ball on the green hitting out of the rough, decided to lay up, eventually hitting a wedge onto the green and two-putting for par.

Calcavecchia tried to match DiMarco, but his second shot fell short and landed in the creek. Looking at a probable bogey, Calcavecchia miraculously holed out his next shot — a 70-yard pitch — for a birdie.

The decision to go for the green in two or play it safe is a question that Dufty said will be asked of all golfers at No. 6.

“They probably think about it every time they get on that tee box,” Dufty said.

And the results may change the course of a round.

“I think if you don’t make four, you’re going to be disappointed,” Dufty said. “But you can make seven real, real easy.”

OTHER POTENTIAL make or break holes include No. 9 and No. 17. A “cute, little” 166-yard, par-3, Dufty said figuring out the yardage on No. 9, hitting from a severely elevated tee-box, is the big concern.

“It’s a very tough hole to club,” Dufty said. “Wind up there can really dictate things.”

There is nowhere to hide on No. 17, a 195-yard par-3. Water borders virtually the entire right side of the hole, requiring golfers to hit an accurate low iron onto a bowled green.

Dufty said it is better to be long than short, although there is little room for error for those hoping to avoid finding the drink.

“You just want to hit [the green],” Dufty said. “If you’re in contention and you’re a couple strokes back — these guys don’t play for 2nd and 3rd place — they want to hit it in that bowl. Seven yards short is water and if they are playing for birdie and trying to get that exact club, I think that’s when you’ll see some water.”

<ro>Stay Hydrated

<bt>Drink plenty of water.

Dehydration is what ambulance and medic crews most respond to during the week-long golf tournament, said Eugene Roesser, of the Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department.

There are 11 concession stands located throughout the course near or between every hole. A percentage of all concession sales is directly distributed to approximately three or four charities.

Since coming to the Washington area 24 years ago, the tournament has distributed over $7 million to more than 150 local and national charities.

<ro>Pocket an Ace

<bt>Doesn't every golf fan want to see an "ace?" Every golfer wants to hit one.

"It's a one-in-a-million golf shot," said Jay Dufty, head golf professional at the Tournament Players Club at Avenel.

An engraving machine sits in the locker room at TPC at Avenel, ready to be used when anyone — professional, member or guest — makes a hole-in-one. In the history of the FBR Capital Open, golfers have hit holes in one at holes No. 3, 9, 11, and 17.

<cl>Hole No. 3

<bt>Arnold Palmer made back-to-back aces on Hole No. 3 during the 1986 Chrysler Coup at Avenel on Sept. 2 and Sept. 3, 1986. Palmer's aces were the first time back-to-back aces were recorded on any pro tour.

<cl>Hole No. 9

<bt>This one may be the favorite spots for spectators, who will fill the ampitheater on the left side of the green. Two professionals — Russ Cochran last year and Steve Jones in 1990 — have "aced the hole" since the tournament moved to Avenel in 1987. Rock Run stream abuts the front and right sides of the No. 9 green while bunkers line the left side of the green. "Trusting your club is what it takes," said Dufty. "Anywhere mid to right brings water into play."

<cl>Hole No. 11

<bt>Although less dramatic then other potential "hole-in-one" holes, No. 11 gives fans the best odds to see an "ace" during the tournament. Six professionals have "aced" this 165-yard par-three hole, the shortest on the course. Neal Lancaster and Bob Burns both recorded "aces" on this hole in last year's 2002 tournament.

<cl>Hole No. 17

<bt>What makes the hole dramatic is a large pond that parallels the entire length of the green on the right side and a large sand trap that nestles the back left side of the green.

<cl>History of Aces

Hole No. 3

<lst>Ben Crenshaw, 4th round, 2001

Marco Dawson, 2nd round, 1994

John Inman, 2nd round, 1992

<cl>Hole No. 9

<lst>Russ Cochran, 2002

Steve Jones, 3rd round, 1989

<cl>Hole No. 11

<lst>Neal Lancaster, 2002

Bob Burns, 4th round, 2002

Aaron Baddeley, 2nd round, 2001

Mike Weir, 2nd round, 1998

Willie Wood, 4th round, 1998

Phil Mickelson, 2nd round, 1994

Doug Tewell, 1st round, 1990

Donnie Hammond, 1st round, 1989

<cl>Hole No. 17

<lst>Brian Kamm, 2nd round, 1998

Justin Leonard, 2nd round, 1998

J.C. Snead, 2nd round, 1989

<ro>Follow the Big Names

<bt>Spectators always flock to a host of familiar names. Local golf enthusiasts venturing to the FBR Capital Open this June 5-8 will still have many notable Professional Golf Association Tour golfers to see.

For those spectators who have favorites golfers, Thursday and Friday are good days to follow threesomes without having to deal with the larger weekend crowds.

The front-9 consists of fairways that lay parallel (1,8; 2,7; 3;6, etc.), giving fans the chance to skip holes without having to do an extensive amount of walking. The back-9, meanwhile, is one-long chain of holes that require more foot time.

Along with defending champion Bob Estes, here are some golfers who have already made early commitments to the FBR Capital Open that fans will want to keep their eyes on. (Golfers have until the Friday, May 30 to make a commitment to this year's tournament. See www.capitalopen.pgatour.com for up-to-the-minute commitments.)

Phil Mickelson: One of the most renowned golfers on tour, Mickleson is currently ranked 4th in the world. The winner of 21 PGA tournaments, “Lefty” finished third at the 2001 Kemper Open and has finished in the top 10 in four of his six trips to Avenel. He is currently 5th on the tour in driving distance and birdie average and finished 3rd at this year’s Masters. He is still looking for his first major championship.

John Daly: Utilizing a “grip it and rip it” philosophy, Daly is consistently at the top of the list among long drivers on tour. The 1991 PGA Championship and 1995 British Open Championship winner is 2nd on the tour this year in driving distance, averaging over 311yards. Daly has always been a favorite of spectators at Avenel.

Nick Price: The native South African has a resume of 18 tour victories and 24 international victories. Price is a two-time PGA Tour Player of the Year, having won the award in 1993 and 1994, and has earned over $17 million in prize money in his 22 years on tour.

Rich Beem: A former cellular phone and car stereo salesman, Beem won his first tournament ever at the 1999 Kemper Open and was a runner-up last season at Avenel. Reaching seventh on the money list in 2002, his fourth year on tour, Beem claimed his first major with a victory at the PGA Championship.

Fred Funk: Born in Takoma Park, this former golf coach at the University of Maryland is still looking to capture his first PGA Tour victory at Avenel. He was runner-up in four tournaments in 2002 and finished 13th on the money list. Funk still holds the Capital Open record for posting the best score after two rounds. In 1998, he shot a 12-under-par, 130 (64-66), after the first two days of the tournament. He finished tied for third that year behind Scott Hoch and champion Stuart Appleby.

Other golfers making early commitments to this year’s Capital Open include Fred Couples, Mark O'Meara, Curtis Strange, Robert Allenby, Rich Beem, Stuart Appleby, Angel Cabrera, Chris Riley, Craig Parry, Jose Maria Olazabal, Scott Hoch, Hank Kuehne, Padraig Harrington, Chris DiMarco, Peter Lonard and defending champion Bob Estes.

<ro>Take a Seat: Best Sitting Hole

<bt>Hole No. 9

Take a seat in the amphitheater of Hole No. 9 and watch a program full of high drama, tragedy and cheers during the FBR Capital Open. The 166-yard, par-three hole offers as legitimate a chance to see a hole-in-one as it does a double bogey. Rock Run stream abuts the front and right sides of the green while two bunkers are positioned dangerously on the left. Wind, player’s nerves and the cheers of flush crowds on this spectator favorite often dictate whether golfers go for broke on this hole or play it safe. Fans can find seats in the shade or the sun on either side of the hole and refreshment stands are close by. A giant scoreboard is located at the end of the green so fans can keep tabs on the leader board should they want to stray elsewhere for a while.

<ro>Listen to Records

<bt>Extra rainfall this spring, and the lush grass that comes from it, will make it especially difficult for golfers who find themselves off the fairways and in the grass rough during the 2003 FBR Capital Open tournament.

While Billy Andrade and Jeff Sluman's course record — 263 (21-under par) — seems out-of-reach this year, listen for other records that could be broken. Takoma Park native Fred Funk still holds the course's best first two-day total, shooting a 12-under-par, 130, in 1998. A total of 11 golfers are tied for a low one-day total of 63, eight-under-par.

<cl>Low Nine

<lst>29 strokes, Brad Bryant, 7-under par, Avenel, 1991

29 strokes, Jay Williamson, 6-under-par, Avenel, 2000

<cl>Low 18 (One-day total)

<lst>63, 8-under-par, 11 golfers have tied this record at Avenel, including Bradley Hughes, 2001; Michael Clark, 2000; Stuart Appleby, 1998; Corey Pavin, 1996 and 1995; Davis Love III, 1995; David Toms, 1992; Ted Schulz, 1991

<cl>Low 36 (First two-day total)

<lst>130, Fred Funk (Takoma Park native), (64-66), 12-under par, 1998

<cl>Low Tournament Score (Four-day total)

<lst>263, 21-under-par, Billy Andrade, (68-64-64-67), Avenel, 1991

263, 21-under-par, Jeff Sluman, (67-67-66-66), Avenel, 1991

<cl>Largest Margin of Victory

<lst>7 strokes, Tom Kite, Avenel, 1987

7 strokes, Craig Stadler, Congressional Country Club, 1982

<cl>Most Consecutive Birdies (one-under par)

<lst>5 Billy Andrade, Avenel, 1995, 3rd round

5 Neal Lancaster, Avenel, 1995, 3rd round

5 Kelly Gibson, Avenel, 1994, 2nd round

5 George Burns, Avenel, 1988, 2nd round

(7 tied at four consecutive birdies at Congressional Country Club, including Jack Nicklaus, 1982, Fred Couples, 1981)

<cl>Best Back-to-Back Rounds:

<lst>64-64, Jeff Sluman, Billy Andrade, Avenel, 1991

<ro>Get a Bargain

<bt>Come on Sunday, June 8, the last day of the tournament, and watch for a possible dramatic finish with extra playoff holes. Since the FBR Capital Open, formerly the Kemper Open, moved to the Washington area in 1980, only five tournaments had to be decided by extra playoff holes after two or more golfers tied those years after four days and 72 holes of golf.


<lst>Lee Janzen won the playoff over Corey Pavin with a birdie on the first extra hole.


<lst>Billy Andrade defeated Jeff Sluman for the championship with a birdie on the first extra hole. These two golfers still share the tournament's four-day record, shooting 21-under-par, 263.


<lst>Morris Hatalsky won the playoff over Tom Kite with a par on the second extra hole.


<lst>Greg Norman, "The Shark," won his second Kemper Open with a birdie on the sixth extra hole to defeat Larry Mize. In 1984, Norman captured his first professional tour victory at the Kemper Open and has remained loyal to the Potomac tournament most years since. In addition to Norman, only Bill Glasson (1992, 1985) and Craig Stadler (1982, 1981) have won the tournament multiple times.


<lst>Fred Couples defeated four golfers (Gil Morgan, Barry Jaeckel, Scott Simpson, Tze-Chung Chen) who were all tied after four rounds. Couples made a birdie on the second extra hole to win the tournament.

<ro>Bet on a Triple Crown

<bt>Greg Norman (1986, 1984), Bill Glasson (1992, 1985), and Craig Stadler (1982, 1981) are the only three golfers who have won the former Kemper Open more than a single time each since it moved from Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. to the Washington area. (The tournament moved to TPC at Avenel in 1987 and took place at Bethesda's Congressional Country Club from 1980-1986.)

Fans can watch past Avenel champions attempt to match this feat in this year’s FBR Capital Open. Watch Norman — if he plays Avenel this year — try to make history by becoming just the second three-time champion of the tournament (Tom Weiskopf, 1977, 1973, 1971, Quail Hollow Country Club.)

Watch defending champion Bob Estes go for his second consecutive title at Avenel. Stadler is currently the only player to win back-to-back titles.

Golfers have until the Friday preceding the tournament to commit to this year's tournament. See www.capitalopen.pgatour.com

Past Champions:

2002 Bob Estes

2001 Frank Lickliter II

2000 Tom Scherrer

1999 Rich Beem

1998 Stuart Appleby

1997 Justin Leonard

1996 Steve Stricker

1995 Lee Janzen

1994 Mark Brooks

1993 Grant Waite

1992 Bill Glasson*

1991 Billy Andrade

1990 Gil Morgan

1989 Tom Byrum

1988 Morris Hatalsky

1987 Tom Kite

1986 Greg Norman* (Congressional Country Club)

1985 Bill Glasson* (Congressional)

1984 Greg Norman* (Congressional)

1983 Fred Couples (Congressional)

1982 Craig Stadler* (Congressional)

1981 Craig Stadler* (Congressional)

1980 John Mahaffey (First year the tournament was moved to Congressional from North Carolina)

* two-time champion

<ro>Signature Event

<cl>Even pre-tournament festivities can be a signature event. Here, pro golfer Jose Maria Olazabal takes a break from practice swings to sign a young fan's hat a couple of days before opening day of the 2002 tournament. Pre-tournament festivities take place from Monday, June 2-Wednesday, June 4 at this year's FBR Capital Open (see Fine Print.) At tournament time, June 5-8, many fans, especially youth, will wait at the edge of the green by Hole. No. 18 in hope of getting golf pros to sign autographs before they disappear into the players' locker room.