Shriners Open: Back to Vegas

The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is the second event of the 2013-14 season and cranks up Thursday at the TPC Summerlin.

You might think that the players who showed up would just be guys trying to hold on so they didn’t have to go to Q-School. But that was the old days. Now, because these tournaments all have FedExCup points at stake when they didn’t used to, guys are coming out hoping to get a jump on accumulating the coming year’s points.

For example, you wouldn’t expect anybody from the Tour Championship to show up so early in the year, but five of them did: Zach Johnson (5), Graham DeLaet (8), Webb Simpson (11), Nick Watney (15) and Brendon de Jonge (26). And they all played in the very emotional Presidents Cup too.

Here’s a look at the featured groups: 

7:14 – Brendon de Jonge, Hideki Matsuyama, Kris Blanks

de Jonge gave a great accounting of himself at the Presidents Cup and Matsuyama became a breakout star at the Presidents Cup once he calmed himself down. Blanks is playing on a Medical Extension with three tournaments to earn $257,000 to keep his card.

7:23 – Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore, Davis Love III

With his fine play at the end of the year, Johnson has solidified himself as a top-tier player, Ryan Moore is the defending champion and an UNLV alum and Davis Love is Davis Love, even if 2013 wasn’t particularly kind to him.

7:33 – Jimmy Walker, Nick Watney, Angel Cabrera

Walker got his first win in nine years last week, Watney is a hometown boy and Cabrera has a powerful, natural golf swing people just can’t stop talking about.

11:58 – Harris English, John Merrick, Graham Delaet

English, the am out of Georgia who won a Web.com event and then won in his second year of tour, Merrick from Long Beach with a Cinderella win at Rivera, and Canadian, Graham Delaet who got a lot of air time at the Presidents Cup.

12:08 – Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, David Toms

Reed, the six-time Monday qualifier who hit a highlight reel shot in a playoff with Jordan Spieth to win his first tournament, Webb Simpson the 2012 U.S. Open Champion and the Tour fixture, David Toms, winner of the 2001 PGA Championship and 2005 Accenture Match Play Championship.

Plus we have Brooks Koepke who faded late last week after holding the 54-hole lead at the Frys.com Open and enough other representative firepower that there will probably be a surprise leader after the first round.

The TPC Summerlin plays to a par 72 and 7,243 yards and usually leads to a birdie fest, so there are a lot of reasons to watch.

The weather will be perfect for Las Vegas golf: in the seventies with light and variable winds. This will lead to a guaranteed birdie fest.

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