The annual two-week European swing begins this week with the Evian Masters. The second-largest purse on Tour ($3 million) will be up for grabs at the Evian Masters Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France. Karrie Webb won last year’s event by one stroke over Michelle Wie and Laura Davies. All four rounds will be televised on tape-delay by The Golf Channel beginning Thursday at 6:30pm EDT. In previous years the Evian ran Wednesday to Saturday, but apparently the tournament officials must have gotten tired of having people forget to watch Round One so they conformed to the usual Thursday-Sunday schedule this year.
Evian is par-72, 6192 yards. That’s shorter than the average, but the hilly terrain creates those tricky elevation changes that make holes seem longer. High temperatures can occasionally be a factor.
The tournament has its own qualifying standards to set the field. The field was expanded from 78 to 90 players and for the first time, the field will be cut after the second round – albeit only to the top 70 and ties. With the British Open at St. Andrews next week and the large purse available here, the top 50 of the Rolex Rankings are well represented. That includes Michelle Wie, who will give her ailing wrists and psyche another try. She’ll be playing in the same group with Morgan Pressel in the first round – that ought to be entertaining!
The crap-shoot that is match play ended my streak of three straight winning picks. At least my pick didn’t go down in flames in Round One – Lorena saved her bad round until Friday. This week I will select Ochoa along with Jeong Jang as my CYAs, and surprise all of you by picking Laura Davies to win the Evian Masters and move to within one point of the LPGA Hall Of Fame.
Stats: Winners 4-17 (5-17 with CYAs), Top Tens 27-49.