|Verizon Heritage - April 12, 2010
Harbour Town Golf Links
Hilton Head Island, SC
Par: 36-35—71 Yards: 6,973
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $5,700,000 Winner: $1,026,000
2009 Champion: Brian Gay (264, -20)
Gay Was Simply Dominant in
2009 Verizon Heritage Victory
After winning the 2009 Verizon Heritage by a record 10 strokes, it’s hard to envision that Brian Gay trailed by three shots after 18 holes and was clinging to a one-stroke lead at the halfway point. Gay’s victory was even in doubt as he entered the final round, holding a three-shot advantage over Tim Wilkinson. Gay served notice that he had a big day ahead of him when he had a birdie-eagle start. He eventually shot a 7-under 64 at Harbour Town Golf Links to record his second TOUR title. He added a third championship later in the year at the St. Jude Classic presented by FedEx.
Gay is 52nd in the 2010 FedExCup standings, with a tie for ninth at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship his top performance.
This is the 42nd Verizon Heritage at Harbour Town, which is widely regarded as one of the most popular stops on TOUR. One of Pete Dye’s signature designs is annually ranked among the country’s top courses and has produced a winner’s roster which includes inaugural winner Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Hale Irwin, Fuzzy Zoeller, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Davis Love III, Greg Norman and Nick Price.
Verizon Heritage Tournament Notes
Brian Gay carded just two bogeys at the 2009 Verizon Heritage (the fewest at the event since 1983 when Loren Roberts had three).
Davis Love III, a five-time Verizon Heritage champion, returns to Harbour Town for the 25th consecutive year, a streak which began with a tie for 41st in 1986. Included in his 24 previous starts are 11 top-10s, 13 top-25 finishes and only four missed cuts.
Jim Furyk, the world’s sixth-ranked player, has enjoyed success at the Verizon Heritage but has yet to win on Hilton Head Island. Furyk is making his 12th start at the Heritage. He has made the cut eight times and counts four top-10s among his finishes. Furyk has posted five top-15 finishes in his last seven starts at the tournament, including a tie for 15th in 2002, a tie for 10th in 2003, runner-up performances in 2005 and 2006 and a fourth-place showing in 2008.
Defending champion Brian Gay will be looking to keep a 16-year streak intact. No defending champion has missed the cut at the Verizon Heritage since Davis Love III in 1993.
Just five players have won the Verizon Heritage in their first appearance: Stewart Cink (2000), Jose Coceres (2001), Bob Goalby (1970), Arnold Palmer (1969) and Boo Weekley (2007).
The Verizon Heritage has been won by a player age 40 and older five times. Those winners in their 40s are Arnold Palmer (40 years, 2 months, 20 days) at the inaugural 1969 tournament; Bob Goalby (1970; 41 years, 8 months, 15 days); Hale Irwin (1994; 48 years, 10 months, 14 days); Loren Roberts (1996; 40 years, 9 months, 27 days); and Nick Price (1997; 40 years, 20 months, 22 days). The youngest winner in Verizon Heritage history is Davis Love III. He was 23 years, 6 days when he won the first of his five titles, in 1987.
Harbour Town Golf Links is one of eight courses that has hosted at least one TOUR Championship. In 1989, Harbour Town was the site, as usual, of the Verizon Heritage, won by Payne Stewart. Six months later, Harbour Town also hosted the season-ending TOUR Championship. Stewart just missed winning twice on the same course in the same season when he fell in a two-hole playoff to Tom Kite.
A player has posted four rounds in the 60s 24 times throughout the history of the Verizon Heritage, with Brian Gay (67-66-67-64) the most recent to do so in 2009. Nick Price holds the tournament record, with nine consecutive sub-70 rounds.
There have been three repeat winners at the Verizon Heritage: Payne Stewart (1989-90), Davis Love III (1991-92) and Boo Weekley (2007-08).
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
· Davis Love III (Sea Island, GA/U. North Carolina) is a five-time winner of the Verizon Heritage. If he wins again this week, he’ll be just the second player in PGA TOUR history to win the same event in four different decades. Love has victories in the event in 1987, 1991, 1992, 1998 and 2003. Sam Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open in four different decades.
· In the history of the Verizon Heritage there have been several multiple winners. Davis Love III leads the way with five wins, but other multiple winners include Hale Irwin (1971, 1973, 1994), Johnny Miller (1972,1974), Hubert Green (1976, 1978), Tom Watson (1979, 1982), Payne Stewart (1989, 1990), Stewart Cink (2000, 2004) and Boo Weekley (2007, 2008).
· Players in their 20s have won six times already this year. That same age group produced only seven wins in all of 2009.
· Shaun Micheel (Memphis, TN/Indiana) is in the field this week at the Verizon Heritage thanks to a fifth-place finish at the Shell Houston Open two weeks ago. It was the first Top-10 finish for the former PGA Champion since a T5 at the 2007 Viking Classic.
· Here’s a strange statistic. The only player ranked in the Top 25 in Greens in Regulation to win this season is Hunter Mahan (Colleyville, TX/Oklahoma State) and he’s ranked 25th. Mahan won the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year.
· The top three players after the second reshuffle of the season are Rickie Fowler (Las Vegas, NV/Oklahoma State), Alex Prugh (Las Vegas, NV/Washington) and J.P. Hayes (El Paso, TX/UTEP). All three have made significant upward movement over the first 16 events of the year. Fowler started 33rd, Prugh 30th and Hayes 17th following last year’s Q-School.
· Fred Couples (La Quinta, CA/Houston) will be seeking a record-equaling fourth consecutive victory on the Champions Tour this week at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am. Chi Chi Rodriguez is the only player to win four in a row on the circuit, accomplishing the feat in 1987.
· More on Couples: His 2-1-1-1 start this year has been made possible by his amazing play on Par-5s. In 12 rounds, Couples has played the 45 Par-5 holes in 44-under par, making 6 eagles and 32 birdies.
· One more on Couples: He has not made a score higher than 5 this year and has 85 scores of 3 or less on the 216 holes he played this year.
· Hale Irwin (Paradise Valley, AZ/Colorado) will make his 1000th combined start on the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour this week at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
· Former NFL superstar Jerry Rice will not only serve as host, but as a professional competitor this week at the Fresh Express Classic at the TPC Stonebrae. The 47-year old Rice will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this summer.
· Rice won’t be the only Hall of Famer on hand this week at the tournament. He’ll be joined in the Pro-Am by current NFL Hall of Fame members Fred Biletnikoff, James Lofton, Ronnie Lott, Anthony Munoz and Jack Youngblood.
· This week’s tournament will be the first of three to be conducted on TPC courses this year. The Rex Hospital Open and the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open will also be held on TPC courses.