Potter Among Huge Group of "Formers" Set for Puerto Rico Open
Wednesday, March 6, 2024

    The Puerto Rico Open always brings out various groups: including former big-time PGA Tour players who are not riding the big wave anymore, and a slew of newbies looking to break through for a full-time exemption.

    Among the former group is Ocala's Ted Potter, who hasn't been seen in a while after spending a decade or so with the big guns, winning twice and running up more than $6.1 million in prize money. Ted played in this one at Grand Reserve Golf Club (par 72, 7,506 yards) last year and finished tied for 59th at 1 under par, earning a check for $8,664.

    Also among the huge group of "formers" are Bill Haas, Brandt Snedeker, Geoff Ogilvy, Sean O'Hair, Jeff Overton, Jason Dufner, Aaron Baddeley, Ben Crane, Ricky Barnes and D. J. Trahan. Barnes tees off with Ted and Martin Trainer in tomorrow's first round, starting at 6:34 a. m. 

    Nico Echavarria is the defending champ; the Columbian won at 21 under last year and collected $684,000. He'll be joined this time by fellow Columbian and ex-Gator Camilo Villegas, a recent winner on Tour. In last week's Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches, Nico tied for 21st at 10 under par. Austin Eckroat won the event that for years was the Honda Classic, and he collected $1.6 million. Gator Billy Horschel tied for ninth at 12 under and Tyson Alexander (68-70-69-66-273) tied for 16th at 11 under.

    Seminole Daniel Berger is also in the entries in Puerto Rico. 

    At Bay Hill, all the remaining elites (who haven't defected to the boring LIV golf tour) are among the short field of 69 honoring Arnie. They include Jusin Rose, Jason Day, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Tommy Fleetwood, Jordan Spieth and Shane Lowry.

    Unfortunately, for the average fan, the problem of identifying most of the 6' 2" same-build players from behind makes the TV coverage less enjoyable. Not like the days when Arnie, Nicklaus, Player, Trevino, Watson, Mickelson and others could always be picked out, no matter what angle the cameras had on them. \

     Of course, the LIV problems go much deeper, but that's a column for another day.    

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