|Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial - May 25, 2009
CROWNE PLAZA INVITATIONAL
Colonial Country Club
Fort Worth, TX
Par: 35-35—70Yards: 7,204
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $6,200,000Winner: $1,116,000
2008 Champion: Phil Mickelson (266, -14)
Mickelson Will Not Defend at Colonial;
Strong Field Assembled in Fort Worth
The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial has a tradition of top players winning the event. In the first 20 playings of the tournament held annually in Fort Worth, TX, the winner was a future World Golf Hall of Fame member 13 times. Since then, other luminaries have added their names and scores to the Wall of Champions adjacent to Colonial Country Club’s first tee. They include Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Nick Price and Tom Watson.
Phil Mickelson’s plaque already was in place by virtue of his 2000 victory at Colonial. He added a second title in 2008 with his one-stroke win over Tim Clark and Rod Pampling.
Mickelson will not defend his title this week as he tends to family issues related to his wife’s diagnosis of breast cancer. Mickelson announced last week that he will take an indefinite leave of absence from competitive golf and the PGA TOUR.
Despite Mickelson’s absence, a strong field has gathered this week, including Clark and Pampling, as well as Rory Sabbatini, the 2007 Colonial champion who won last week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. All three are battling for berths on the international team for the upcoming Presidents Cup. Sabbatini is in eighth place in the standings (the top-10 automatically qualify), while Clark is ninth and Pampling is 25th.
Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Notes
Rod Pampling’s tie for second in 2008 marked the fourth consecutive year he has finished inside the top 12 at the event. Besides last year’s performance, Pampling tied for 12th in 2007, was third in 2006 and tied for sixth in 2005.
The last time the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial crowned a come-from-behind winner was in 2001 when Sergio Garcia won. Garcia made up a five-shot deficit to win in the final round against Phil Mickelson. In the 61-year history of the Crowne Plaza Invitational, the 54-hole leader/co-leader has won 34 times.
The playoff in 2007, featuring Jim Furyk, Bernhard Langer and Rory Sabbatini, was the first three-man playoff in tournament history, and the ninth overtime session overall.
Ian Baker-Finch, the 1991 British Open champion and two-time PGA TOUR winner, is playing this week and will be making just his third TOUR start since the 1996 season. He withdrew from the 1997 British Open and missed the cut at this event in 2001. The CBS sports announcer has made nine previous starts at the Invitational, including his first TOUR win in 1989. Baker-Finch turns 50 in October 2010.
Every year, past champions of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial select two deserving young players to compete in the tournament, who otherwise would not have been eligible. It’s a unique TOUR tradition known as the “Champions’ Choice.” Pros who made their first appearances at Colonial as a “Champions’ Choice” include Tom Weiskopf, Craig Stadler, Curtis Strange, Mark O'Meara, Paul Azinger and Davis Love III. Dave Stockton won the event as a Champions Choice in 1967, and five other choices through the years have eventually won the event during their careers. This year’s recipients include Matt Weibring and Derek Fathauer.
On Tuesday, May 26, native Texan Chad Campbell will throw out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers-New York Yankees game at Rangers Ballpark. The following evening, former Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial champion Rory Sabbatini, a resident of Fort Worth, will have the honor of throwing out the first pitch.
The PGA TOUR Wives Association is joining with the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in a "Pink Out" Saturday, May 30. This event is being conducted to raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer in honor of Amy Mickelson, wife of PGA TOUR player Phil Mickelson. Players’ wives are encouraged to wear pink apparel during the round as a show of support.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
He hasn’t won yet, but is anyone on TOUR hotter than Brian Davis? In his last three starts, he’s finished T5-T5-2. Over that time he’s climbed from 98th to 21st in the FedExCup standings. He has eight consecutive rounds in the 60s, 13 consecutive sub-par rounds and 20 consecutive rounds of par or better.
Only one player has won the TOUR stops in Fort Worth and Dallas in the same year—Ben Hogan in 1946. Rory Sabbatini, fresh off his win last week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship will try to match Hogan this week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
The saying “horses for courses” certainly applies to Colonial CC in Fort Worth. No less than 10 players have won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial multiple times—Ben Hogan (5 wins), Julius Boros, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Bruce Lietzke, Nick Price, Phil Mickelson, Corey Pavin and Kenny Perry (2 each).
Since the tournament began in 1946, 15 different World Golf Hall of Famers have won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. They’ve won 24 of the 61 times the event has been contested.
Only one native Texan has won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in the last 30 years—Ben Crenshaw in 1990.
Who leads the TOUR in rounds in the 60s? Charley Hoffman has 27 to lead that category. Hoffman also has the longest drive on TOUR this year—467 yards on the first hole at the Valero Texas Open.
Speaking of distance, Dustin Johnson is not only an accomplished player with two wins to his credit already in his career, he’s also long off the tee. In fact, he has five drives this year over 400 yards.
The victory by Michael Allen at last week’s Senior PGA Championship was his first in his last 267 starts on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour or Nationwide Tour since winning the 1998 Greater Austin Open on the Nationwide Tour.
Larry Mize has three Top-10 finishes in his last four starts on the Champions Tour, including his second-place effort this past week at the Senior PGA Championship.
60-somethings Bruce Fleisher and Gil Morgan showed they still have some game with Top-10 finishes in last week’s first Champions Tour major of the year. Fleisher (60), finished solo third while Morgan (62) was T5. Tom Watson, who turns 60 this September, was solo fourth.
Actor Michael J. Fox will play in the Pro-Am this week at the Principal Charity Classic. He played earlier this year in the Pro-Am at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
The graduating Class of 2008 has performed well on the PGA TOUR this year with 10 graduates currently resting among the Top 125 on the FedExCup points list. Jeff Klauk leads the way in 39th place followed by D.A. Points in 48th and Scott Piercy in 49th.
Driving Accuracy is way up this year on the Nationwide Tour with the Tour’s overall average standing at 70.75%. The Tour averaged 66.12% last year. Paul Gow is the individual leader, hitting 87.5% of the fairways.
Adam Bland has only one 3-putt green this year in 270 holes. That’s just 0.003% of the time.
The Mexico Open presented by Corona Light will be contested the week of Sept. 3-6. It was originally scheduled to be played last week, but was postponed due to the swine flu pandemic.