Tucson Chrysler Classic, Tucson National, Tucson
Jeff Sluman's first-round 75 last year was the second-worst start ever by a winner
American Express Invitational, TPC at Prestancia, Sarasota, Fla.
Jack Nicklaus should be a draw even though he hasn't won in almost two years
Cup Noodles Ladies Hawaiian Open, Kapolei Golf Course, Kapolei, Hawaii
Last year Hawaii got so windy that Annika Sorenstam won with a final-round 73
Name That Tournament
Question: What do Dean Martin, NBC, Joe Garagiola, Seiko, Northern Telecom and Chrysler have in common? All have affixed their names at some point to the Tucson stop on the PGA Tour, a 53-year-old event that rivals Prince, Roseanne and the Raiders in the dubious-name-change department. This year it's the Tucson Chrysler Classic for a second straight time, which is more mileage than the tournament got out of Home of the Sun Invitational, its name in 1961. Tucson has yet to name a sponsor for next year's event, which has the misfortune of being scheduled the same week as the inaugural World Match Play Championship. Despite this and the goofy conquistador's helmet awarded to the winner, Tucson is a pretty good event, particularly for Phil Mickelson, who's had three of his 12 Tour victories here, including his '91 win as an amateur. Tucson was also the site of two other notable beginnings: Robert Gamez, the 1990 champ, was the last player to win in his first Tour start, and Lee Janzen notched the first of his seven titles here in '92. Although Gamez is missing, Janzen is back, along with mighty mite Jeff Sluman, the defending champ, and such big names as David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
?ABC, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, 4 PM
A Field Fit for the Hall of Fame
Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer haven't played in the same tour event since the U.S. Senior Open last June, but at the American Express each will charge 6,876-yard Prestancia looking for his 11th Senior victory. It's a nostalgic convergence that might make fans forget about those other two guys in the field, Hale Irwin and Gil Morgan. Renowned elocutionist Yogi Berra might call it d�j� vu all over again. Yogi's on hand this week, as are Mark (the Bird) Fidrych, Goose Gossage, Mudcat Grant and other members of the species homo-plate resurrectus, all playing in Thursday's pro-am. This year's AmEx has more Hall of Fame baseball players (nine) than Hall of Fame golfers (seven) and a total of 54 former big leaguers in the field. Morgan, who won the MasterCard Championship in January, will earn extra credit as the Senior tour's Plastic Man if he wins the AmEx this week. No player has won both events in the same year.
? ESPN, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, 5:30 PM
Sunday's a Day of Rest
The Cup Noodles, one of 10 54-hole tournaments on the women's tour this season, will boast such top talent as Laura Davies, Chris Johnson, Betsy King, Michelle McGann, Kelly Robbins and defending champion Annika Sorenstam. Nevertheless, this is one week when you won't hear the bromide, "The tournament really begins on the back nine on Sunday." At the Cup Noodles, golfers will be a hemisphere away by then. After completing their third round on Saturday at 6,056-yard, par-72 Kapolei, most players will head for the airport. United's daily nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Sydney will make a special stop that night, touching down around midnight in Honolulu to scoop up the Cup Noodles gang and zip the women Down Under to the next stop on the LPGA schedule, the Australian Masters.
Getting Down and Dirty On the Nike Tour
Documentary filmmakers highlight the hazards of the pro game in The Road: Life on the Nike Tour, an hourlong special that tracks three players during "40,000 miles of fast food, slow progress and endless nights in cheap hotels." The film follows Chris DiMarco, Michael Clark II and Darron Stiles during the 1997 season. You'll laugh along with DiMarco, but the struggles of Clark and Stiles aren't funny. Says coproducer Jay Kossoff, "We delved into what it takes to be a golfer. Not for the Greg Normans of the world, but for guys blowing their house funds."
?GOLF CHANNEL, MONDAY, 4 PM