|Buick Invitational - January 21, 2008
Torrey Pines GC
La Jolla, CA
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,568
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 6,874
FedExCup Points: 25,000Winner: 4,500
Purse: $5,200,000Winner: $936,000
2007 Champion: Tiger Woods, (273, -15)
Buick Invitational Notes
Charles Howell III had his second close call at the Buick Invitational in 2007. He was the runner-up to Tiger Woods, falling by two strokes. His first runner-up in the event came in 2004, when Howell tied with Luke Donald and Tom Lehman for second, three strokes behind Woods.
Tiger Woods’ final-round 66 last year marked his 22nd consecutive round at par or better in the Buick Invitational. Woods’ only above-par score in 39 career rounds at the tournament is a second-round 77 in 2002. He has recorded 27 of 39 rounds in the 60s at the Buick Invitational. His scoring average at the tournament is 68.46, and his progressive round-by-round scoring average improves with each round—69.67 to 68.22 to 68.00 to 67.875.
San Diego native Phil Mickelson is a three-time winner at the Buick Invitational and will be making his 19th career TOUR start at Torrey Pines. Mickelson won three times last year, including THE PLAYERS Championship, and finished third in the final FedExCup standings. Ten of his 32 career TOUR wins have come in California.
Since 1990, only 15 players have posted four rounds in the 60s at the Buick Invitational, and none have pulled off the feat since 2001, when four players enjoyed four consecutive sub-70 rounds. They were Frank Lickliter II (tied for second), Mike Weir (tied for fifth), Jay Don Blake (tied for seventh) and Shigeki Maruyama (tied for 13th). It was the second time for Blake, who also did so en route to his 1991 victory. The only other player to record four rounds in the 60s twice since 1990 was Hal Sutton in 1994 and 1995. Only three winners have posted four rounds in the 60s since 1990—Blake (1991), Craig Stadler (1994) and Peter Jacobsen (1995).
The following have earned multiple wins at the Buick Invitational: Tommy Bolt (1953, 1955); Arnold Palmer (1957, 1961); J.C. Snead (1975-76), Tom Watson (1977, 1980); Steve Pate (1988, 1992); Phil Mickelson (1993, 2000-01) and Tiger Woods (1999, 2003, 2005-07).
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
- Tiger Woods will be looking for his fourth consecutive Buick Invitational title this week in San Diego. Only four players in TOUR history have won the same event four consecutive times—Young Tom Morris (British Open), Walter Hagen (PGA Championship), Gene Sarazen (Miami Open) and Woods (Arnold Palmer Invitational). Woods will have a chance later this season to win his fourth in a row at both the WGC-CA Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
- Look for a Southern Californian to win this week in San Diego. Eight of the last 10 Buick Invitational champs have been natives of Southern California — Scott Simpson (1998), Tiger Woods (1999, 2003, 2005-07) and Phil Mickelson (2000-01). In fact, 12 of the last 16 and 14 of the last 20 winners of the tournament have been from the area.
- Don’t expect a first-time winner this week. The last player to claim his first career title at the Buick Invitational was Jay Don Blake back in 1991.
- Last week’s winner, D.J. Trahan, has already surpassed his FedExCup point total of last year. Trahan earned 2,766 regular season points last year (117th place) and after winning the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic last week, he has 4,546 this year and stands third on the list.
- Scott McCarron finished T70 last week at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in his first start since midway through the 2006 season. He’s been recovering from elbow surgery in August of 2006.
- There’s a host of NCAA champions teeing it up this week in San Diego. The field at the Buick Invitational boasts nine players who have won the NCAA individual title — Phil Mickelson (1989-90, 1992), Todd Demsey (1993), Justin Leonard (1994), Tiger Woods (1996), Charles Warren (1997), Charles Howell III (2000), Troy Matteson (2002), Ryan Moore (2004) and Jamie Lovemark (2007). Lovemark is still an amateur.
- Fred Funk enters this week’s Turtle Bay Championship full of confidence. Not only did he win last week’s MasterCard Championship at Hualalai, he won last year’s Turtle Bay Championship by 11 strokes — the largest winning margin of any 54-hole event in Champions Tour history.
- Fred Funk will be looking to become the third player to win the MasterCard Championship at Hualalai and the Turtle Bay Championship in the same season. Hale Irwin won the Hawaii Slam in 1997 and Loren Roberts repeated the feat in 2006.
- Hale Irwin will be looking for his seventh Turtle Bay Championship title this week. His six victories in this event are far and away the best in Champions Tour history. No one else has ever won the same event more than four times. He also holds the record for winning the same event the most times in a row — five at the Turtle Bay Championship.
- D.A. Weibring, Loren Roberts and Mark Wiebe extended streaks last week that began in 2007. Weibring now has 20 consecutive rounds of par or better while Roberts has 16. Wiebe’s streak of consecutive holes without a 3-putt has reached 288.
- The Nationwide Tour will kick off its 19th season this week at the Panama Movistar Championship. Three of the four past champions of the event are scheduled to compete this week at the Panama GC — Vance Veazey (2005), Tripp Isenhour (2006) and Miguel Carballo (2007).
The field in Panama includes 24 players who have won on the PGA TOUR a total of 36 times.
The Nationwide Tour has five players 22 years of age or younger among its membership. D.H. Lee (4-9-87) is the youngest followed by Won Joon Lee (10-23-85), Brendon Todd (7-22-85), Colt Knost (6-26-85) and Chris Kirk (5-8-85).
- D.J. Trahan’s win at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic last week was the 219th win on the PGA TOUR by a former Nationwide Tour player.