With all 30 eligible players expected to compete in this week’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, participation in the 20 PGA TOUR Playoff for the FedExCup tournaments (2007-2011) stands at 97.6 percent. In 2011, only Charl Schwartzel (The Barclays) and J.B. Holmes (The Barclays/Deutsche Bank Championship), were the only absentees among the 325 playing opportunities. Holmes underwent surgery on Sept. 1 to alleviate pressure on his brain caused by Chiari malformations.
Webb Simpson retained his top spot in the FedExCup standings with a solo fifth-place finish at last week’s BMW Championship, his third top 10 in the Playoffs this season (T10-The Barclays, 1-Deutsche Bank Championship, 5-BMW Championship). Simpson will enter the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola seeking to become just the third player to notch top 10s in all four Playoff events during a single season (Rory Sabbatini-2007, Padraig Harrington-2009).
Fifty-one of Webb Simpson’s 86 rounds (66.3 percent) in entering the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola have been in the 60s. His 51 rounds in the 60s are seven more than Matt Kuchar.
Entering the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Luke Donald leads the PGA TOUR in scoring average at 68.89, followed by Webb Simpson (69.27). Donald’s final-round scoring average is second on TOUR at 68.29.
With his withdrawal following the second round of the BMW Championship, Steve Stricker’s streak of 40 consecutive made cuts was snapped as he was unable to finish 72-holes at the no-cut event. Additionally, Stricker’s FedExCup record streak of consecutive rounds in The Playoffs also ended at 74.
Of the 11 rookies who began the Playoffs, Keegan Bradley was the only one to advance to the TOUR Championship. Bradley became the fourth rookie to reach the TOUR Championship in the FedExCup era – with the previous three having been voted Rookie of the Year by their peers: Marc Leishman (2009), Andres Romero (2008) and Brandt Snedeker (2007).
Players who earned their first trip to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola: Webb Simpson (No. 1 FedExCup), Chez Reavie (8), Gary Woodland (11), Mark Wilson (15), Keegan Bradley (20), Bill Haas (25) andFredrik Jacobson (29).
Six players have two victories on the PGA TOUR this season – with all of them looking for a third at this week’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola: Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Steve Stricker, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson and Mark Wilson. Just ten different players since 2000 have posted three or more victories in a season: Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson, Kenny Perry, Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, David Toms, Mike Weir, Tiger Woods.
Age breakdown for 30 players at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
Youngest: Jason Day, 23 years 10 months 13 days as of Sunday, September 25
Oldest: Vijay Singh, 48 years 7 months 3 days as of Sunday, September 25
Seven players in the field began the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup outside of the top 30 in the standings and played their way into THE TOUR Championship:
Current FedExCup rank
Player FedExCup rank entering The Playoffs
Justin Rose No. 3 No. 44
Chez Reavie No. 8 No. 76
John Senden No. 9 No. 50
Vijay Singh No. 23 No. 36
Geoff Ogilvy No. 24 No. 79
Y.E. Yang No. 28 No. 43
Bo Van Pelt No. 30 No. 39
Five full-field events remain on the 2011 schedule, including this week's Soboba Golf Classic in San Jacinto, Calif. The season's finale is the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C. (Oct. 27-30), where only the top-60 money winners will be on hand.
Jason Kokrak's (COKE-rack) win on Sunday at the Albertsons Boise Open came in only his 15th Nationwide Tour start and 11th of 2011. The former Xavier University star was an alternate until Tuesday morning and was the last player to secure a spot in the field.
University of Georgia standout Russell Henley makes his professional debut this week at the Soboba Golf Classic, alongside his former teammate Harris English. Henley and English, both 22, became only the second and third amateurs to win a Nationwide Tour event, having done so in May and July, respectively. Their last event as amateurs came at the recent Walker Cup in Aberdeen, Scotland.
RE/MAX World Long Drive champion Jamie Sadlowski made the cut in his first Nationwide Tour event last week in Boise. He shot 73-66-73-75-287 (+3) and finished T75. Not surprisingly, he led the field in Driving Distance (349.8 yards), but only by 6.2 yards over winner Jason Kokrak.
Albertsons Boise Open tournament officials announced another huge charity donation from this year's tournament -- $1,076,000 to charity, plus $725,000 to other charities via TICKETS Fore CHARITY, for a total of $1,801,000. The figures surpassed last year's totals.
Did you know? Last year at this time the Tour's third-leading money winner Troy Kelly underwent hip-replacement surgery. The U. of Washington grad (2003) has made 11 cuts in 14 starts this year, highlighted by a 2nd, a T2 and a T3.
Jay Don Blake’s Songdo IBD Championship win came in his 424th start since his last victory at the 1991Shearson Lehman Brothers Open in San Diego.
The playoff at the Songdo IBD Championship was the third in succession as well as the eighth of the season. It was one shy of the all-time Champions Tour record of nine in 2002.
Bob Gilder finished T47 at the Songdo IBD Championship in what was his 300th career start on the Champions Tour.
Champions Tour professionals John Cook and Bernhard Langer returned from Korea on Monday morning after competing in the Songdo IBD Championship. The duo, who finished T2 and T16 respectively, immediately headed to TPC Harding Park for the 2011 Charles Schwab Cup Media Day. Cook is the Charles Schwab Cup Championship defending champion, while Langer clinched the season-long Charles Schwab Cup in San Francisco and earned the Champions Tour Player of the Year Award.
Tom Lehman maintained his lead in the Charles Schwab Cup and now has 2,135 points and leads runner-up Mark Calcavecchia (1,684) by 451 points. Peter Senior’s T2 finish bumped him to third place with 1,645 points. John Cook is now fourth with 1,570 followed by Olin Browne with 1,370.
670 – The record number of volunteers who have registered for the SAS Championship. Over 670 volunteers will assist with operating the annual Champions Tour event. Volunteers will include SAS employees, Prestonwood Country Club members, and many residents of the surrounding communities. Together, this group will account for over 10,000 hours on the course over seven days.