Reno-Tahoe Open preview

Padraig Harrington makes his debut at the Reno-Tahoe Open on Thursday, the first PGA Tour event since 2006 to decide the winner by Modified Stableford

Montreux Country Club


With the PGA and European Tour's top players competing in the Bridgestone Invitational this week, some lesser lights - many who are fighting for their 2013 playing privileges - will take part in the Reno-Tahoe Open at Jack Nicklaus' Montreux Country Club.

In an effort to increase the profile of the event, organisers announced this week the tournament would be decided on Modified Stableford, rather than strokeplay. It is the only tournament on the regular PGA Tour schedule to depart from strokeplay and the first time the format has been used since The International was last staged in 2006.

Despite the rival World Golf Championship event there are some big names in the field for the tournament, which takes place a week before the fourth and final major of the season.

Padraig Harrington isn't eligible for the Bridgestone despite a recent resurgence, and takes his place in the field alongside Australian Stuart Appleby, John Daly, Camilo Villegas and JB Holmes.

The tournament - inaugurated in 1999 - isn't steeped in heritage but has seen some relatively high profile winners, including Ryder Cup star Scott Verplank, who beat Jean Van de Velde in a play-off in 2000.

Last year, Scott Piercy triumphed by one stroke over Pat Perez, but the American won't return to defend his title, having received an exemption to play in Ohio after victory at last week's RBC Canadian Open.

Venue: Montreux Golf and Country Club, Reno Date: Aug 02-05 Course stats: par 72, 7472 yards Purse: $3,000,000 Winner: $540,000 Defending Champion: Scott Piercy

TV Coverage: not being shown on British television Player Watch:

Padraig Harrington: looks almost back to his major-winning best, threatening at US Open and recording four top 10s since then. He hasn't appeared in this event before, but the Modified Stableford format should suit him down to the ground.

Camilo Villegas: the Columbian was in great shape last week before a brace of 73s over the weekend, and has shown signs in recent weeks that he may be on the verge of rekindling the form that saw him break into the world's top 10.

John Rollins: in his 18 events this season, he has missed nine cuts and recorded nine top-25 finishes, suggesting he may well compete if he makes the cut. The Texan is also a past winner at Montreux. Key hole: 18th. The finishing hole is a 616-yard par 5. Last year, it ranked as 16th hardest hole, but with this year's format, it could be the difference between success and failure. If organisers move the tees forward it could be a pivotal hole, with five points on offer for an eagle.

Skills required: An aggressive mindset. Modified Stableford doesn't reward the conservative, so players will need to get out there and show some attacking intent.

Where next? Nick Bonfield blogs about Modified Stableford

Nick Bonfield
Features Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, writing, commissioning and coordinating all features across print and online. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x