TOM WATSON, FRED COUPLES & DEFENDING CHAMPION NICK PRICE HIGHLIGHT FIELD AT 2010 OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE PRO-AM ON NBC SPORTS THIS WEEKEND
Celebrities Michael J. Fox, George Lopez & Emmitt Smith to Tee Off
“All the top players are here.” – NBC Sports’ Gary Koch
NEW YORK – April 14, 2010 – Tom Watson, Fred Couples and defending champion Nick Price highlight a stellar field of Champions Tour pros competing at the 2010 Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am from the TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz, Fla. on NBC Sports this Saturday from 4-6 p.m. ET and Sunday from 1-3 p.m. ET. Celebrities Michael J. Fox, George Lopez and Emmitt Smith, among others, will compete for the Pro-Am title.
Host Dan Hicks and analyst Gary Koch, a Tampa resident, anchor the coverage from the 18th hole tower. They are joined by tower reporter Mark Rolfing; course reporters Roger Maltbie and Dottie Pepper; and interviewer/essayist Jimmy Roberts.
Koch on TPC Tampa Bay: “The course is one of the favorites of Champions Tour players. It’s well designed with a lot of variety. Its four finishing holes are very strong. It’s a ball-striking golf course that you need to think your way around. It doesn’t favor any one style of play. It brings out the best in players, which is why the best players love playing this course.”
Watson won the Outback in 2007 and 2008, and is coming off an impressive performance last week at the Masters. He shot minus-one for the tournament and was in second place after the first day, having shot a career-best 67. Couples, a Champions Tour rookie, is the first player in history to win three of his first four events. He finished second in his debut and won his next three events. He can join Chi Chi Rodriguez as the only player in Champions Tour history to win four consecutive events. Last week at Augusta, Couples finished sixth, shooting nine-under for the tournament. Price’s 2009 win at the Outback was his first Champions Tour victory.
Koch on the field: “All the top players are here. It’s going to be particularly interesting this week with Fred Couples and Tom Watson coming off such strong Masters performances.”
The field of professionals is comprised of numerous additional familiar names, including Paul Azinger, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Mark O’Meara, Curtis Stange, Hal Sutton and Fuzzy Zoeller.
In addition to Fox, Lopez and Smith, the celebrity field competing for the Pro-Am title includes Vince Gill, Stone Phillips, Vinny Testaverde, Derrick Brooks and Joe Theismann.
Koch on the Pro-Am: “Because of the unique Pro-Am format, this event has a great atmosphere. The celebrity element draws a unique crowd – from golf fans to young people to families. We will see some of the largest crowds all year long and the pros love playing in front of large galleries. Vinny Testaverde finished runner-up in the Pro-Am the last two years. He’s got something to prove. He and Derrick Brooks, who won it a few years ago, have a fun rivalry that makes things even more interesting.”
THE PLAYERS Championship: Following the Shell Houston Open, NBC Sports’ coverage of the PGA TOUR returns the weekend of May 8-9 with THE PLAYERS Championship from TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla, from 2-7 p.m. ET on both Saturday and Sunday (all times ET):
THE PLAYERS Championship – Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Saturday, May 8 2-7 p.m.
Sunday, May 9 2-7 p.m.