PGA Tour: Six Major Champions Plus a Former World No. 1 Are in Puerto Rico Field

Fred AltvaterContributor IIMarch 9, 2012

Former World No. 1 David Duval has a Claret Jug
Former World No. 1 David Duval has a Claret Jug

While the top ranked golfers in the world are teeing it up this week at the WGC-Cadillac on the Blue Monster in Miami, there is another group of professionals chasing golf balls in Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Rico Open presented by offers a $3.5 million purse with a little over $600,000 going to the winner, while the WGC-Cadillac will award $1.4 million to its winner from an $8.5 million purse.

There are some interesting names in the field this week in Puerto Rico, including six former major champions.

Former world No. 1 and British Open winner David Duval has played in 376 events in his career.  He has won 13 times, finished in the top ten 68 times and earned over $18.8 million.  Duval has yet to make a cut in 2012 and has been struggling to find his former world-class form for some time.

47-year-old Lee Janzen has the 1993 and the 1998 U.S. Open trophies at home on his mantle.  He has won a total of eight times on the PGA Tour but has zero wins since 1998.  Lee has had a solid professional career and still has plenty of game, but at this point in his life, he is staying tournament ready and looking to the Champions Tour.

In 2003 Ben Curtis won the British Open and was named the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.  In 2011 Curtis played in 23 events, only made 13 cuts and had zero top tens.  He only made $423,466 and finished 133rd in the FedEx Cup standings. 

Curtis is still only 33 years old and has a few years to get his game back on track to contend with the big boys again.

Argentinean Angel Cabrera won the 2007 U.S. Open, the 2009 Masters and has been a member of three International Presidents Cup Teams.  He has 41 world-wide wins but has fallen outside of the top 50. 

He was paired with Rory McIlroy in the final twosome on Sunday at the 2011 Masters, but bogies at 12 and 16 ended his chance at a second Green Jacket and he finished seventh.

Angel Cabrera won the 2009 Green Jacket
Angel Cabrera won the 2009 Green JacketHarry How/Getty Images

Todd Hamilton turned professional in 1987.  He failed PGA Q-School eight times before finally getting his PGA Tour card in 2003.  In 2004, Hamilton won the Honda Classic as well as the British Open, and at the ripe old age of 39, he was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. 

He has a total of four PGA Tour wins and has won another 11 times on the Japanese Tour.  Todd won’t make it into the World Golf Hall of Fame, but he has made a ton of money over his 24-year career.   

2002 PGA Championship winner Rich Beem is more famous for his outgoing personality and fun-loving spirit on and off the golf course.  He has three PGA Tour wins in his 17-year career. 

Beem had to undergo back surgery in 2010 and had a less-than-stellar 2011.  He only made five cuts in 21 events last year and finished 215th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Other names of interest in the field in Puerto Rico are Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa, who was just given a special invitation to the 2012 Masters. 

Former multiple PGA Tour winner, Boo Weekley, as well as veterans Scott McCarron, Steve Flesch, Paul Stankowski, Robert Gamez and Chris DiMarco are also playing in Puerto Rico. 

Twitter favorite Jason Gore, rookie Peter Uihlein, and 2011 PGA Tour standout Jhonattan Vegas are present. 

Former PGA Tour winner and Ryder Cup player J. B. Holmes is trying to find his game and recover from offseason brain surgery. 

Colorful veterans Woody “AquaMan” Austin, Rocco Mediate, and Duffy Waldorf are also beating it around the Trump International Golf Club. 

It all makes for a very colorful mix in this U.S. Territory.  While the big names are playing for big bucks in glitzy South Beach, the real work is getting done in Puerto Rico this week.