|AT&T Classic - May 12, 2008
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,311
FedExCup Points: 25,000Winner: 4,500
Purse: $5,500,000Winner: $990,000
2007 Champion: Zach Johnson (273, (-15)
AT&T Classic Notes
Stewart Cink, a four-time PGA TOUR winner and a former All-American at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, will be making his 13th consecutive appearance in the AT&T Classic. Cink is off to a solid campaign, with six top-10 finishes in 2008, including a runner-up finish at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, a tie for second at the PODS Championship and ties for third at the Masters Tournament and the Buick Invitational. Cink always enjoys the shortest commute of anyone in the field. The Cinks make their home at TPC Sugarloaf. He is also a member of Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club, the permanent home of THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola.
World Golf Hall of Fame member Greg Norman, the designer of TPC Sugarloaf, will make his first start at the AT&T Classic since 2004. Norman played in the Classic the year Sugarloaf opened, firing a 10-under 278 to tie for fifth. Norman, winner of 20 PGA TOUR events, will be competing for the third time on the 2008 PGA TOUR. Earlier this season he played in the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico. He also played in the 2008 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Before the start of the 2008 season Norman's last appearance at an official regular season TOUR event was the 2006 International.
The TPC Sugarloaf was Greg Norman’s first U.S. design. Since finishing TPC Sugarloaf, he has designed an additional 32 U.S. courses.
Since New Zealander Bob Charles won the first Atlanta stop in 1967, only two international players have won in the 36-year tournament history. South Africa’s Retief Goosen was victorious in 2002, and he was joined by Canada’s Dave Barr in 1987. Six of the last 13 PGA TOUR events have been won by international players.
Though the AT&T Classic began in 1967, this is the 40th edition of the tournament. The numeric discrepancy is due to two factors: the 1974 event was actually the inaugural Tournament Players Championship (now known as THE PLAYERS Championship), which, in its early years, rotated to different venues. In 1976 there was no Classic played because of the U.S. Open being contested at the Atlanta Athletic Club. From 1967 through 1996 the tournament was played at the Atlanta Country Club. It moved to TPC Sugarloaf in 1997.
Only three players have posted four rounds in the 60s since the AT&T Classic moved to TPC Sugarloaf. David Duval did it when he won the 1999 tournament. That same year Davis Love III did the same en route to a tie for seventh. Phil Mickelson put together four rounds in the 60s in 2006 when he won for the third time.
- While international players have enjoyed great success on the PGA TOUR this year winning eight tournaments, they have not traditionally done well at the AT&T Classic. Since the tournament began in 1967, only three players from outside the U.S. have won — Bob Charles of New Zealand in 1967, Dave Barr of Canada in 1987 and Retief Goosen of South Africa in 2002.
- While international players may not have been winning in Atlanta, they’ve been coming very close of late. Mike Weir (2001), Jesper Parnevik (2002), Mark Hensby (2003), Arjun Atwal and Jose Maria Olazabal (2005), Jose Maria Olazabal (2006) and Ryuji Imada (2007), have all finished second in Atlanta.
- Will the trend continue? Players in their 20s have won nine times on the PGA TOUR this year, including six of the last seven events.
- With his T10 finish last week at THE PLAYERS, J.B. Holmes moved back into the Top-10 in the FedExCup standings. Holmes is now ninth after moving up three spots. The biggest jumps, however, were made by Paul Goydos (up 104 spots to 42nd) and Sergio Garcia (up 101 places to 14th).
- Last week both Sergio Garcia and Tom Lehman passed the $20 million mark in career earnings on the PGA TOUR.
- Zach Johnson must love the Peach state. All three of his career wins have come in Georgia, including two at the AT&T Classic. He won twice in the state last year at the Masters and the AT&T Classic and finished second in the only other tournament in Georgia. While he didn’t win THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola, he did shoot a course-record 60 during the week.
- Sergio Garcia finished second at THE PLAYERS Championship in 2007 before winning the tournament last week. The only other player in the history of THE PLAYERS to finish second one season and win the next was Tiger Woods. Woods was he runner-up in 2000 before winning in 2001.
- When Ben Curtis 3-putted his 12th hole in the second-round of last week’s THE PLAYERS Championship, it ended a streak of 374 holes without a 3-putt—the longest streak on TOUR this year.
- While the Champions Tour had last week off, not all of the players did. Bernhard Langer spent the week on the PGA TOUR and challenged at THE PLAYERS Championship before finishing in a T15. Fred Funk also competed at THE PLAYERS, but missed the cut.
- The Regions Charity Classic has always drawn a strong list of celebrities to its Pro-Am and this year is not exception. Expected to compete this week are Charles Barkley, Bobby Bowden, Jeff Fisher, Vince Gill, Joe Namath, Steve Spurrier and Joe Theismann, just to name a few.
- Since the Regions Charity Classic moved to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Ross Bridge in 2006, the event has known only one champion—Brad Byrant. Bryant will return this week looking to claim his third consecutive Regions Charity Classic title. Only seven times in the history of the Champions Tour has a player won the same event three consecutive years or more.
- One more on Brad Byrant: When he won the Regions Charity Classic in 2006, he set a Champions Tour record that will be tough to break—he hit 53 of 54 Greens in Regulation with his only miss by four inches.
- Not to be outdone by the Regions Charity Classic on the Champions Tour, the BMW Charity Pro-Am will also offer an array of competing celebrities. Heading to the Nationwide Tour event this week are Wayne Gretzky and wife, Janet Jones-Gretzky, along with Kurt Russell, Joe Pesci, Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Oliver Hudson and Cheech Marin, to name a few.
- The winner of this week’s BMW Charity Pro-Am will not only take home $121,500 and a huge step forward toward the PGA TOUR, but he’ll also win a BMW X5.
- Nationwide Tour alums had a quite a showing at last week’s THE PLAYERS Championship. After winner Sergio Garcia, the next eight finishers were all former Nationwide Tour players—Paul Goydos (2nd), Jeff Quinney (3rd), Briny Baird (4th), Stephen Ames (5th) and Ben Crane, Ernie Els, Tom Lehman and Brett Quigley (all tied for 6th).
- While the BMW Charity Pro-Am has moved this year to three new courses, it will remain the only event on any of the three Tours that is played in two different states. Both South and North Carolina will see Nationwide Tour action this week.