RENO - Jack Nicklaus ranks Montreux Golf & Country Club as one of the five best he ever designed.
The 7,472-yard, par-72 layout is extremely difficult, featuring a lot of elevation changes and two difficult par-4s, the 494-yard 10th and the 491-yard 14th.
The course was ranked 19th-toughest out of 56 by the PGA Tour last December. The rankings were based on the courses' total par, total yards and the average score of tournament players. The players averaged 72.671.
"It's tough," said Reno's Scott McCarron, who plays out of Montreux. "You have to play in the altitude and the course has a lot of elevation changes, and the greens are tough to read.
"On the front side alone, you have elevation change at No. 3 and No. 4, players hit from an elevated tee at the par-3 7th and there is a huge elevation change from the No. 8 tee to the fairway."
FORMER CHAMPS IN FIELD
The Reno-Tahoe Open has had six different champions since it started in 1999, and three of them are in this year's field.
Defending champion Vaughn Taylor, who beat Scott McCarron, Steve Allan and Hunter Mahan in a sudden-death playoff last year, is back. Allan had a two-stroke lead entering the final hole, but he put his approach shot in the greenside bunker and then hit his shot off the green, enabling the other three to catch him.
Notah Begay III, who won the first-ever RTO in 1999, was a late add to the field. Begay, who barely missed the top 125 and a full-year exemption after an injury, is on an medical exemption. Begay has the low single-round score in RTO history with a 63.
The third champ in the field is veteran John Cook, whose final-round 64 won the 2001 event. Cook suffered a torn labrum in 2003, which limited him to 10 events. He has missed making the top 125 the last two seasons.
Some players were taken off the course when the weather kicked up a bit early Tuesday afternoon, and by dinner time the area was being pelted by wind and rain.
No big deal. What's the RTO without weather issues. Play has been halted several times over the past two years, but the tournament was always completed by Sunday.
A pro-am is scheduled to start at 6:40 a.m. today weather permitting. Mark O'Meara plays at 7 a.m., David Duval at 8 a.m., Justin Rose 8 a.m., McCarron at 12:10 p.m. and Kevin Sutherland at 12:20. Groups will play off from No. 1 and No. 10.
RTO ON TV
Once again, the Golf Channel will televise the Reno-Tahoe Open.
The broadcasts will start at 5 p.m. each day of the tournament and last for 2 1/2 hours.
Golf the High Sierra said it will give away a round of golf for two at 10 area courses to the winner of a promotional drawing at this year's RTO.
Fans simply have to fill out an entry form at the information booth located at the driving range at Montreux. The winner will be announced after the tournament.
"We are thrilled about Golf the High Sierra's donation," said Jim Kline, tournament director. "Their generosity has allowed us to create three great promotions for volunteers and tournament spectators."
Darrell Moody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281