|PODS Championship - March 03, 2008
Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club
Palm Harbor, FL
Par: 36-35—71Yards: 7,340
FedExCup Points: 25,000Winner: 4,500
Purse: $5,300,000Winner: $954,000
2007 Champion: Mark Calcavecchia (274, -10)
PODS Championship Notes
Mark Calcavecchia, who tied for fourth last week at The Honda Classic, will be attempting to become the first player to successfully defend a title at the PODS Championship. In 2007, Calcavecchia used the victory in Palm Harbor to shatter his career-best in earnings ($2,993,332) and finish eighth in the FedExCup standings. This week is his sixth start at the PODS Championship, with three previous top-25 finishes. Besides his 2007 win, he tied for 19th in 2006 and tied for 24th in 2003.
In 2007, Mark Calcavecchia became the first American to win the PODS Championship since John Huston won the inaugural event in 2000. International-born players have dominated the event, with a winner’s roster including two-time victor K.J. Choi (South Korea), Vijay Singh (Fiji), Retief Goosen (South Africa) and Carl Pettersson (Sweden).
After posting at least one victory for five consecutive seasons from 2001-2005, Retief Goosen, the 2003 PODS Championship winner, is seeking to snap a two-year PGA TOUR winless streak, with his last win coming at the 2005 The INTERNATIONAL. Goosen is seeking to reverse a trend at the PODS Championship. As he makes his fifth appearance at this event, he counts his victory and the following finishes: tie for 20th (2004), tie for 44th (2005) and a missed cut in 2006.
Numerous Presidents Cup veterans from 2007 are playing this week at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club's Copperhead Course. U.S. players include Stewart Cink, Lucas Glover, Charles Howell III, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, David Toms and Scott Verplank. International players competing at the PODS Championship are Stuart Appleby, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and Geoff Ogilvy.
Last year, Ryan Moore made a hole-in-one on the 17th hole in the first round, only the third ace in the tournament's seven-year history. The other aces came courtesy of Mathias Gronberg (No. 15) and Jonathan Kaye (No. 17), both in 2004.
Mark Calcavecchia was mired in a tie for 38th place at the halfway point of the 2007 PODS Championship, then he went out and tied the course record by shooting a 9-under 62 in the third round. Jeff Sluman set the original 18-hole mark in 2004. Calcavecchia opened his round by birdieing four of his first five holes, and he added five more birdies and only one bogey.
Several players who have have finished second at the PODS Championship are playing this week.The following have all finished as runners-up: Tommy Armour III and Jesper Parnevik (2004), Chad Campbell (2005), Paul Goydos (2006) and John Senden and Heath Slocum (2007).
- Mark Calcavecchia opened last year’s PODS Championship with a 75 before going on to victory. It was the highest opening round score by a winner in 10 years or since Jeff Sluman did the same thing at the 1997 Tucson Open. Since the TOUR started tracking such things in 1970, 76 is the highest opening round score that eventually led to victory. It’s been done five times, but not since Mike Sullivan accomplished the feat at the 1989 Shell Houston Open.
- There’s a good field assembled at the PODS Championship this week with five of the Top 10 and 21 of the Top 30 players in the current FedExCup standings on hand.
- Scott Verplank will be back in action this week looking to extend his TOUR-best streak of consecutive rounds of par or better. Verplank enters the week with 27 in a row. Tiger Woods holds the record of 52 set during the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
- You might look for an international winner this week at the PODS Championship. Five of the previous seven winners have hailed from outside the U.S.—K.J. Choi of Korea (twice), Retief Goosen of South Africa, Vijay Singh of Fiji and Carl Pettersson of Sweden.
- Second-year player Steve Marino is quietly putting together a strong sophomore season. Marino has made the cut in all seven of his starts with four Top-25 finishes. He’s 17th in the FedExCup standings and leads the TOUR with 14 rounds in the 60s.
- There were some huge leaps made in the FedExCup standings last week following The Honda Classic. Winner Ernie Els climbed 171 spots all the way to 11th while Brett Quigley and Jose Coceres climbed 115 and 114 spots, respectively.
- Scott Hoch is entered this week in the Toshiba Classic and will be seeking his third consecutive victory on the Champions Tour. The last person to perform the feat was Jay Haas during the 2006 season. The all-time record is four in a row set by Chi Chi Rodriguez in 1987.
- More on Hoch: He tuned up for this week’s Toshiba Classic by playing in The Honda Classic on the PGA TOUR last week. The 52-year old made the cut before finishing in a T65.
- Sandy Lyle will be making his Champions Tour debut this week in Newport Beach looking to join a long list of players who have won in their initial starts on the Tour. A total of 12 have done so, including Mark Wiebe who did it last year at the SAS Championship.
- Look for low scoring this week at the Toshiba Classic. Newport Beach CC is the second-shortest course on the Champions Tour and last year it played to a stroke average of 69.722 for the week. Jay Haas set the tournament record last year with his 19-under winning total.
- Two members of the Class of 2007 posted their top finishes of their young PGA TOUR careers this past week at The Honda Classic. Matt Jones (T4) and Michael Letzig (T7), each had their first career Top-10 finish.
- The victory by Ernie Els at The Honda Classic was the 222nd win by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR.
- With the exception of two tournaments that have only been held once, the PODS Championship is the only tournament on the PGA TOUR that has not been won by a former Nationwide Tour player.
- Thanks to his win at the Moonah Classic, Ewan Porter is the latest Aussie to join the Nationwide Tour or PGA TOUR. In fact, 43 Australians now compete on the two.