These are my favorite tournaments to cover. I selected these events for the things I value most: atmosphere, player access, walkability of the course and nearby amenities.
1. Troph�e Lanc�me, Versailles, France
Location, location, location. The press stays in the same five-star hotel as the players, the food is amazing, and Paris is just up the Seine. The Americans who play relax in the intimate setting and follow the example of their European tour brethren, who dine and drink together as a matter of course. The communal atmosphere makes for good conversation—and material.
2. Cisco World Match Play, London
The best one-on-one competition in golf. All the matches are 36 holes, and the seedings are arranged so that the stars almost invariably get to the final. Wentworth is also a wonderful course to walk.
3. British Open
(especially at St. Andrews) Majors, in general, are frenzied, but the British is less so than the others. The town of St. Andrews buzzes with Old World energy. Best of all, the 18 hours of sunlight allow a writer to slip off for a guilt-free round.
4. Tour Championship
A select field at a year-end event is a welcome combination for a writer, and the courses are terrific, particularly Olympic and, in 2002, the renovated Harding Park, both in the best city in the U.S., San Francisco.
5. Office Depot Father and Son Challenge, Naples, Fla.
It's fascinating to see the hard-bitten pros get all mushy playing with their kids. You can't put a price on the insights the sons have into their dads. This is the most human pro tournament.
6. Memorial, Columbus, Ohio
As good as it gets on the PGA Tour, plus access to Jack Nicklaus. The press is allowed to play the sister course across the street.
7. American Express Championship, C�diz, Spain
The food and the way of life are something everyone should experience. The small, casual galleries make it easy to follow the action.
8. Solheim Cup, Luss, Scotland
A tough combination to beat: passionate, head-to-head competition played at a site, Loch Lomond, that's the Camelot of golf.
9. Players Championship, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
As well run an event as there is. Press facilities and access to the players are tops. Outside the majors, this one means the most.