The PGA Tour only has two courses for its players to tame this weekend.
In an unusual start to the season, the last two tournaments were played over four courses - at last week's Bob Hope Classic - and three courses - at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am the week before.It's down to a manageable two at the Shearson-Lehman Open, which begins Thursday.
"I feel sorry for the rookies, the guys who maybe haven't played these tournaments before," John Cook said Wednesday. "It's tough enough trying to prepare for one course. Maybe you can handle it. But three or four? You just don't have time to get to all of them."
Unlike the last two events, this one has its courses on the same property, the Torrey Pines public facility that stretches along cliffs overlooking the Pacific.
The 156-man field will be split between the North and South courses Thursday and Friday, playing one round on each before the field is cut for the final two rounds Saturday and Sunday at the longer, more difficult South course.
Provo's Dan Forsman, who broke a four-year winless string with a victory here last year, got a head start on preparations for his title defense.
"It wasn't something I really planned on, or wanted, or really anticipated," said Forsman, who missed last week's final-round cut. "The only plus is that I did have the time to play both courses."
While his season has started slowly, Forsman is encouraged.
"I feel like I'm a much better player than I was at this time last year," he said. "I know I still have a lot to learn, about the game and about myself, but I feel I'm coming in playing better than my record shows. I'm confident and ready to go."
Forsman faces a field that includes amateur Phil Mickelson, surprise winner of the Tucson Open, and five of the top six finishers in the record-breaking binge from last week's Bob Hope Classic. They are winner Corey Pavin, Mark O'Meara, Tim Simpson, Fred Couples and Blaine McCallister.