This Week in Golf -- April 12 through April 15

1:51 PM, Apr 9, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - PGA TOUR - HERITAGE, Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina - The post-Masters stop on tour, Harbour Town, is a favorite of a lot of pros.

Bubba Watson, the new owner of a shiny green jacket, is not playing the Heritage. He's at home with his new baby boy, Caleb, but the tournament does have one big star.

Luke Donald, the world No. 1, will try to put a disappointing trip to Augusta National behind him. He tied for 32nd at the Masters, but he has a great record at Harbour Town.

Donald tied for second in 2009, shared third in 2010 and lost in a playoff one year ago.

Brandt Snedeker parred the third extra hole to win last year, but Donald didn't go without a fight.

Donald's approach buried in a bunker and his sand shot rolled through the green. With Snedeker in with par, Donald's chip to extend the playoff lipped out of the hole, giving Snedeker his second PGA Tour win.

Donald could've become the world No. 1 had he won the playoff, but instead waited a month to beat then No. 1 Lee Westwood in sudden-death at the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship.

Snedeker will be on hand to defend his title this week.

He won this year's Farmers Insurance Open and hasn't missed a cut all season. Snedeker tied for 19th at the Masters.

Perhaps the most interesting name in the field is Ernie Els.

After going all out in his unsuccessful bid for a spot in the Masters, Els will have less pressure on him this week.

Golf Channel has the action on Thursday and Friday before CBS takes over on the weekend.

Next week is the Texas Open, where Brendan Steele won the title last year.

EUROPEAN TOUR

MALAYSIAN OPEN, Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - With Watson out of action this week, the other big name from Augusta National, Louis Oosthuizen will be the main star on the European Tour.

Oosthuizen and good buddy, Charl Schwartzel, are both in the field this week.

It could've been a magical Sunday at Augusta for the close friend and hunting buddies. Had Oosthuizen won the playoff, it would've been Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, who presented him the green jacket.

Instead, Schwartzel gave it to Bubba, but Oosthuizen will try to continue the momentum.

He struggled at this event last year, going 76-75 over the weekend. Oosthuizen did play all four rounds with his friend Schwartzel, but it was a teenager that stole the show.

Matteo Manassero, two days shy of turning 18, held off Gregory Bourdy and Rory McIlroy, who blew the Masters the week before. It was Manassero's second European Tour win.

Manassero, like Els, was fighting hard for a place in the Masters this year, but missed out. He's in fine form with three top 10s, including a runner-up at the Open de Andalucia.

Golf Channel will have all the telecast all week.

Next week, the European Tour stays in Asia for the China Open, which was won last year by Nicolas Colsaerts.

CHAMPIONS TOUR

ENCOMPASS INSURANCE PRO-AM OF TAMPA BAY, TPC Tampa Bay, Lutz, Florida - The Champions Tour is back and John Cook will defend his title at the TPC Tampa Bay.

Last year, Cook won a playoff that, frankly, should never have happened.

Armed with a two-shot lead on the par-four 18th, Cook chunked a six-iron into the water right of the green. After his drop, Cook made double-bogey and headed to a playoff against Jay Don Blake.

In the extra session, Cook didn't mess with the water. His second landed eight feet past the stick and Blake went bunker-to-bunker. Blake blasted out to four feet, but Cook drained the birdie putt for the win.

It was the second of three 2011 victories for Cook, but it was first in the state of Florida on either the PGA Tour or Champions Tour.

Fred Couples, the second-round leader of the Masters, will not be on hand this week.

Golf Channel will handle the broadcast all three rounds.

Next week is the Legends of Golf. The team of David Eger and Mark McNulty walked off with the title.

NATIONWIDE TOUR

TPC STONEBRAE CHAMPIONSHIP, TPC Stonebrae, Hayward, California - The Nationwide Tour remains in California this week and Daniel Chopra could make history.

No player in Nationwide Tour history has successfully defended a title and Chopra will take his shot at this week.

Last year, Chopra was declared the winner after the fourth and final round was canceled due to heavy fog. The start of the round was delayed four hours, then play began. After four hours of play, the fog rolled in again and play was eventually called.

Scores reverted back to 54 holes and Chopra was given the title.

Former PGA Champion Steve Elkington is playing on the Nationwide Tour this week.

As is NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, who has played some Nationwide Tour events.

There is no television for this tournament.

In two weeks, the Nationwide Tour heads to the South Georgia Classic, where Ted Potter. Jr.

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