Sixty-nine of the 132 players in The McGladrey Classic field this week at Sea Island Resort in St. Simons Island, GA, have at least one career PGA TOUR victory, led by Vijay Singh’s 34 wins. Thirteen players in the field have won in 2011, led by multiple winners Webb Simpson and Mark Wilson.
Ernie Els, who finished T4 at last week’s Frys.com Open, has made a career-high 21 starts in 2011 on the PGA TOUR. Els’ previous mark for starts was 20 in both 2000 and 2010.
Heading into the final two official events of the 2011 PGA TOUR schedule, Webb Simpson ($5,768,243) trails Luke Donald ($5,837,214) by $68,971 on the season-long money list. With a five-year exemption at stake for capturing the Arnold Palmer Award earned by the leading money-winner, Simpson is scheduled to compete this week in the penultimate event, The McGladrey Classic.
Bud Cauley, who turned professional in June after his junior season at the University of Alabama, finished third last week at the Frys.com Open to take home $340,000 and earn an exemption into The McGladrey Classic. Cauley has now made $671,150 in non-member earnings in 2011. In order to avoid a trip to the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament, Cauley needs to equal or surpass the earnings of No. 125 on the final 2011 PGA TOUR official money list, currently held by Matt Jones ($602,392).
Another non-member looking to earn his PGA TOUR card for the 2012 season is Canadian Adam Hadwin, who has earned $432,752 in just four events, with top-10 performances at the RBC Canadian Open (T4) and the Frys.com Open (T7). His top 10 last week at the Frys.com Open earned the 23-year-old an exemption into The McGladrey Classic. To become a Special Temporary Member for the remainder of 2011, Hadwin will need to earn an additional $130,977 to match last year’s final No. 150 (Michael Letzig -- $563,729). If he earns Special Temporary Membership, Hadwin will be exempt into the finals of the PGA TOUR Qualifying School if his non-member earnings at the end of the season fall between Nos. 126 and 150 on the final PGA TOUR Official Money List. If he finishes No. 125 or higher, he would be exempt for 2012 in the Top 125 non-member category. If he does not become a Special Temporary Member and finishes between Nos. 126-150, he would be placed in the Nos. 151-200 category on the Nationwide Tour for next year and would not have status on the PGA TOUR in 2012 unless he qualifies through the Qualifying School.
Brad Faxon’s win at the Insperity Championship marks the fourth straight event won by a first-time winner on the Champions Tour – Mark Calcavecchia/Boeing Classic, Jay Don Blake/Songdo IBD Championship, Kenny Perry/SAS Championship. The last time there were four straight first-time winners on the Champions Tour was in 2001 when Bobby Wadkins (Lightpath Long Island Classic), Bruce Lietzke (3M Championship), Steve Veriato (Novell Utah Showdown), Walter Hall (AT&T Canada Senior Open) all claimed their first titles on the circuit in succession.
Tom Pernice, Jr. was the only Champions Tour professional competing at the Frys.com Open on the PGA TOUR. Pernice finished T36; however he dropped from No. 27 to No. 30 on the Champions Tour money list by missing the Insperity Championship. After this week’s AT&T Championship, the top-30 advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship at TPC Harding Park.
Brad Faxon became the 19th different winner on the Champions Tour this year, the most on the Champions Tour since there were 21 in 2007.
Corey Pavin moved from 17th to 16th in the Charles Schwab Cup points standings after a T10 finish at the Insperity Championship but there were no changes in the top-15 on the list. Brad Faxon, winner of the Insperity Championship, appears on the Charles Schwab Cup points standings for the first time, in 39th position.
A total of 13 players have appeared in the weekly top five of the Charles Schwab Cup points standings throughout the 22 tournaments this season, but only two players have made just a single appearance – Rod Spittle (5th in Week 2), Bernhard Langer (5th in Week 3). Tom Lehman has been No. 1 every week except for the season-opening week when he was No. 2 behind John Cook.
With two events remaining, only eight players have a mathematical chance to catch Tom Lehman in the race for the Charles Schwab Cup.
After nine years at Oak Hills CC, the AT&T Championship is moving to a new venue, the TPC San Antonio AT&T Canyons Course designed by Pete Dye and Bruce Lietzke.
The AT&T Championship holds the distinction on the Champions Tour of being played for the longest span in one metropolitan area. The tournament will be played for the 27th consecutive year this week. The ACE Group Classic is second in longevity, with a run of 24 years in Naples, FL.
In the 26-year history of the tournament, only three winners have recorded any round of par/higher: J.C. Snead (second round/73/1993), Jim Albus (third round/73/1994) and Phil Blackmar (first round/72/2009).
Last year, none of the 30 players who came into the AT&T Championship in the top 30 on the money-list were bumped out of the top 30. The top-30 at the conclusion of the AT&T Championship will earn spots in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
3 – The number of golf facilities to currently hold two PGA TOUR-sanctioned events annually (TPC San Antonio, TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach Golf Links). TPC San Antonio hosts the Champions Tour’s AT&T Championship and the PGA TOUR’s Valero Texas Open. TPC Sawgrass annually hosts THE PLAYERS Championship and the Nationwide Tour’s Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open. In addition to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Pebble Beach hosts the Champions Tour’s Nature Valley First Tee Open.
13 – The number of top-10 finishes by Mark Calcavecchia, the most this season.
Rod Spittle earned his first Champions Tour win at last year’s AT&T Championship after open qualifying. Spittle made his Champions Tour debut in 2005 at this same tournament, then known as the SBC Championship. After open qualifying, he finished T74.
Miguel Carballo rattled off three eagles on Sunday en route to his Children's Hospital Classic win in Chattanooga, TN. He joined 16 others in the Nationwide Tour record book for most eagles in one round.
2011 Nationwide Tour Player of the Year Jamie Lovemark will make his first start since May's Shell Houston Open at this week's Miccosukee Championship on the Nationwide Tour. The 2007 Jack Nicklaus Award winner (college player of the year) had back surgery this summer. Lovemark is also entered in next week's Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open.
Bryce Molder upped the Nationwide Tour alumni win total on the PGA TOUR to 319 with his Frys.com Open victory on Sunday.
Reigning NCAA individual champion John Peterson of LSU earned a spot in this week's Miccosukee Championship with his T23 finish in Chattanooga. On Saturday, he fired a 62 to race up the leader board, before slumping to 74 on Sunday.
Defending champion Jason Gore returns to action this week. He'll be making only his third start since June. On July 12th, he had surgery to repair bone spurs in his shoulder.
John Mallinger has posted six consecutive top-10 finishes (T9, T3, 2, 2, T6, T6) to enter the Nationwide Tour record book. Doug Martin (1993) and Tom Gillis (2009) also had six top 10s in a row, but not in consecutive weeks.
The Nationwide Tour comes to PGA TOUR headquarters next week for the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open. Dye's Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass is the host venue. Last year's 8-under winning total by David Mathis was the highest winning score on Tour in 2010.