Freeport-McDermott Classic, English Turn Golf & Country Club, New Orleans
Tom Lehman and Eurostars Jos� Mar�a Olaz�bal and Lee Westwood should set the pace
Longs Drugs Challenge, Twelve Bridges Golf Course, Lincoln, Calif.
Annika Sorenstam and Pat Hurst lead the chase for $600,000 in Drugs money
The Tradition, Desert Mountain Country Club, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Gil Morgan won by a record six shots in '97. He'll be favored again in the year's first Senior major
Freeport Can Mean a Free Pass to Augusta
First-prize money at the Freeport-McDermott Classic is almost secondary, for the winner gets more than an oversized check for $306,000. He gets a first-class ticket to Augusta. The Masters is an invitation-only event, and if you aren't already in, there's only one way to join the march to Georgia—win the battle of New Orleans. With many top players taking the week off to prep for Augusta, this week's field is unimpressive. Still, don't dismiss the man who masters New Orleans's 7,116-yard, par-72 English Turn course. Davis Love III won the 1995 Freeport to nab a last-minute Masters invite, then finished second at Augusta, one stroke behind Ben Crenshaw. Scott McCarron won here in '96 and went on to place 10th at the Masters. Who will follow their lead this year? Payne Stewart, the most notable omission from the Masters field, said he was "exhausted" after the Players and would bypass English Turn. Glen Day, who's 10th on the money list after finishing second last week, will join 21-time Tour winner Lanny Wadkins among the contenders at New Orleans.
? NBC, SATURDAY, 4 PM; SUNDAY, 3:30 PM
Rx for a Short Slump: A Trip to Longs Drugs
Annika Sorenstam notched her third victory of the '97 season at the Longs Drugs Challenge, prompting memories of Nancy Lopez's nine wins in '78 and Mickey Wright's record 13-victory season in '63. Sorenstam finished with six wins and the player of the year award. Thus far this season she has zero victories, but with Helen Alfredsson, Laura Davies, Kelly Robbins and Karrie Webb taking die week off, Sunday might be her day to shine.
Welcome to Golden Bearizona?
The Tradition usually features the early season's strongest field. Gil Morgan and Hale Irwin will uphold that tradition. Jack Nicklaus, who designed the course at Desert Mountain Resort (above) and has won here four times, emerges from hibernation to battle Morgan and Irwin as well as traditional Senior powers Jim Colbert, Raymond Floyd and Dave Stockton.
?ABC, SATURDAY, 4 PM; SUNDAY, 3 PM
Where Magnolia Lane Meets Memory Lane
Ladies and gentlemen, start your televisions. If you admire classic pars, take a spin through historic Augusta this week as the Classic Sports Network and the Golf Channel take you on an Amen Corner-hugging tour of Masters highlights. At 1 p.m. on Sunday, Classic Sports will air more than nine hours of highlights, from Arnold Palmer's 1960 triumph to Tiger Woods's '97 coronation. The Golf Channel revs up a night earlier by showing classic masters victories, starting at 8 p.m. with Ben Crenshaw's '95 win. At 10:30 p.m. it's retro-Ben, as the Golf Channel revisits Crenshaw's win in '84. The cable channel's Augustafest will roll on to celebrate champs from A to Z. Want more? On Monday at 8 p.m. die Golf Channel presents a special on Woods, and on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. there's something unexpected on the menu, Profiles of a Pro with Fuzzy Zoeller.