- John Hawkins
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Shame on the golf fanatic who remembers the winner of last year's Michelin Championship at Las Vegas. Since claiming his lone tour title -- and distinguishing himself as the most unlikely champion of 2004 -- Andre Stolz has returned to life on the fringe: three cuts made in 12 starts and $104,775 in earnings, three-quarters of which he made for showing up at the Mercedes Championships. Apparently, what happens in Vegas really does stay in Vegas.
This year's field is surprisingly hearty: Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and John Daly give this tournament some marquee wattage. Past champs Jim Furyk and Stuart Appleby will also take part in an event that has been downsized for the better (it went from 90 holes to 72 last year; and this year will go from three venues to two). I like Mark Hensby for no other reason than the promise that this will become a putting contest -- 15 under didn't get you a top-20 finish last year.
Having gleaned a reputation as capable of getting up and down from a car wash, Hensby ranks a ghastly 198th on the tour in scrambling. He's a below-average ball-striker who can look absolutely awful at times, but in Vegas he'll find a couple of easy courses and perfect scoring conditions. It should be a great week to roll in a bunch of 20-footers, and few players do that better than Hensby, whose prowess on the greens helped an errant Vijay Singh salvage a halve at last month's Presidents Cup.
Who won in Vegas last year? Most people don't remember. But John Hawkins says this year's champ could be a more recognizable face.