Welcome to Playing The Field, the successor to 2009's Five To Watch, where we break down the big stories and the big players at each tournament. This week, the Tour comes to the mainland for the Bob Hope Classic. This time around, we've got both celebs and pros, and it's five days. Five! Jeez, we'd better get started ...
The format: The Hope Pro-Am is unlike any other tournament on the Tour, and with good reason -- it's a tremendous pain to deal with logistically speaking. Spread out on four courses, with celebrities playing in four of the tournament's five days, this is a tournament that the pros secretly dread. It's like "take your kid to work" day for four days in a row.
The celebrities: OK, let's face it -- there aren't any tremendously compelling figures in the field outside of some of the rooks. But there are celebrities, lots and lots of celebrities, and isn't that what America's all about? Celebs include Alice Cooper, Greg Maddux and Kurt Russell. Mad Dog vs. Snake Plissken! How ya gonna go wrong with that, huh?
Mike Weir: The scrappy Canadian is one of the best players of the 2000s and one of the best in the field this weekend. He won the event in 2003 and has posted a couple other top 10s since then. Plus, being Canadian and all, he's not going to get annoyed with the slow play of the celebs.
Justin Leonard: He's one of the most reliably almost-elite golfers in the world, one of those guys whose amazing putt at the Ryder Cup in 1999 instantly elevated the perception of his career far beyond what it would have been otherwise. Still, there are worse things to be than among the top 20 golfers on the planet over the last decade.
Roto Arcade's Sleeper of the Week: Ben Crane. The slowest golfer on earth has some game when it comes to the Hope, and he's a good bet for your sleeper of the week. "He's never missed a check in seven visits to the Bob Hope, including a fifth-place run in 2004 and a 12-place finish two years back," says RA's Scott Pianowski. "Fear the turtle." Duly noted. Bonus: you can catch some sleep of your own between Crane's shots.
All right, your turn. Here's the field; pick your favorite players and celebs for this weekend. Go!