BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - As the Rapiscan Systems Classic hits the ten-year mark, this year’s group of golfers rivals any we’ve seen over the last ten years.
“The field is very, very strong," Bernhard Langer said. "You can see if you look around, some of the best, if not most of them are here this week.”
Headlining the field is someone who is no stranger to Fallen Oak. After winning the Tournament Championship last year, Steve Stricker is back in Biloxi.
“You know, I’m not really worried about trying to repeat," Stricker said when asked about defending his title. "Obviously, I’m just coming here to try to play well, try to get in contention and try to hopefully come out on top at the end, and let it take care of itself, mainly.”
He’ll have plenty of competition to take home the $240,000 purse, including Langer.
The five-time Charles Schwab Cup winner is currently in the lead for a sixth by $61,534, but hopes to build some separation in the standings after missing the last four-plus weeks with an oblique injury.
“It’s difficult when you’re professional (and) you don’t practice for four weeks, but sometimes it’s a nice break. It just came at the wrong time, it came after a long break already in a sense," Langer said. "The goal is to stay healthy and build on it day by day, get stronger and better, and hopefully my game will do the same thing.”
And while Langer looks to warm back up, Vijay Singh shows no signs of cooling off.
He joins the field in Biloxi just weeks removed from a strong performance at the Honda Classic. Entering the last round in the final pairing before placing sixth at even par, the 56-year-old nearly became the oldest player to ever win on the PGA Tour.
At this point for Singh, is age just a number?
“Well, I mean, I feel it. Every time I wake up in the morning I feel it," Singh laughed. "It was nice to be in the last pairing, I was excited. I felt like I was playing well, I feel like I’m playing well now, so if I just get my mind to it, it’ll be okay.”
But no matter where they are in their careers, some of the biggest names in professional golf continue to sing the praises of Fallen Oak, and one aspect of the course in particular.
“I think it’s the greens," Stricker said. "And the layout, the layout is really nice, but the greens are pretty special.”
“That plays right in the hands of Augusta," Singh said, comparing the greens at Fallen Oak to those at the home of The Masters. "Augusta is going to be rolling almost as fast as these, or even faster, so this is a good warm-up for Augusta.”
Stricker officially tees off the 2019 Rapiscan Systems Classic Friday morning (March 29) at 11.