For the first time, the high-powered Tavistock Cup exhibition matches in Orlando will include a sprinkle of estrogen among the testosterone. In fact, that's just what this thing needs.
As always, the matches March 24-25 will pair the big-named tour members of Orlando's two wealthy private enclaves, Lake Nona and Isleworth, in a format which has often provided some fun storylines. Like three years ago, when a playoff featured Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Lee Janzen, who all have won two U.S. Open titles apiece.
This time around, in the fifth year of the competition, LPGA stars Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer have been added to the Lake Nona and Isleworth rosters, respectively. Sorenstam has played in the past as the lone female competitor, her schedule permitting, but Creamer, who bought a home at Isleworth last year, is a rookie.
The two have had scrapes in the past. Three years ago, Creamer, then an LPGA rookie, accused Sorenstam of taking an improper drop on the 18th hole of the ADT Championship in West Palm Beach. That took some major brass Titleists, for lack of a better term.
In another event first, tournament officials are requiring that fans admitted to the invitation-only event dress in red or blue, the team colors for Nona and Isleworth. No word yet on whether they have found a blue dress for Nona's Sergio Garcia. Or whether teammate Ian Poulter will wear anything at all. Just making sure you were paying attention, folks.
The matches are at Isleworth this year with Mark O'Meara and Ernie Els again serving as playing captains. While the event is almost entirely for fun and crosstown ragging rights, there's a jaw-dropping $3.88 million purse this year (the biggest purse in women's golf is $3.1 million) and each player on the winning team gets to designate $100,000 to the charity of their choice.
Creamer, the defending champion at this week's LPGA season opener in Hawaii, said she ran into Woods on the Isleworth range recently and the Tavistock topic came up.
"Right now, we're talking a lot about the Tavistock Cup because that event is in March and we'll be on the same team, which is pretty exciting," the 21-year-old said.