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Gene Littler
Gene Littler (1977)
The Woodlands CC
Farmers Insurance Open - January 25, 2012

E-Notes – January 25, 2012


This week’s Farmers Insurance Open is rewarding school spirit during the third round of the tournament on Saturday, January 28. For the second year, all fans and TOUR players are encouraged to wear their own university colors in support of Farmers “University of Farmers” advertising campaign. For “extra credit” Farmers will award $30,000 total to the college golf programs of the three players posting the best third-round 18-hole scores. The player with the low third-round score will receive $15,000 for his alma mater’s golf team, second will receive $10,000 and third will receive $5,000. Farmers Insurance Open defending champion Bubba Watson is a University of Georgia graduate, one of nine former Bulldogs with PGA TOUR cards in 2012.

J.B. Holmes, who underwent brain surgery last Sept. 1 and Justin Rose, whose wife Kate gave birth to daughter Charlotte on Jan. 1, are scheduled to make their 2012 PGA TOUR debuts at the Farmers Insurance Open. Others making their first starts include Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Geoff Ogilvy.

An amateur has made the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open four of the last five years: Jamie Lovemark (2007 and 2008), Gregor Main (2009) and Anthony Paolucci (2011). Jay Hwang, a golfer at UCLA, is the only amateur in the 2012 field.

Twelve of Phil Mickelson’s 39 career PGA TOUR victories have come in the state of California, including three victories at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Last year, lefthanders Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson finished 1-2 at Farmers Insurance Open. Prior to that, the last time two left-handed players finished 1-2 at a PGA TOUR event was the 2005 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where Mickelson won by four shots over Mike Weir.

Last year, Jhonattan Vegas and Phil Mickelson were the first two players since 2001 to record all four rounds in the 60s at the Farmers Insurance Open. Dating to 1997 (14 tournaments), only six other players have performed the feat, with two coming in 1999 (Billy Ray Brown and Bill Glasson) and four in 2001 (Frank Lickliter II, Mike Weir, Jay Don Blake and Shigeki Maruyama).

The Farmers Insurance Open has not produced a first-time TOUR winner since Jay Don Blake in 1991.

Humana Challenge winner Mark Wilson, who led the FedExCup standings for a TOUR-best 12 weeks in 2011, sits No. 2 in the current FedExCup standings with 553 points, 230 points behind Johnson Wagner (783 points).

Going back to the start of the 2011 season, Wisconsin natives Mark Wilson and Steve Stricker have the most wins on the PGA TOUR – three.

One week after winning the Sony Open in Hawaii, Johnson Wagner continued his stellar play at the Humana Challenge, finishing T2. Wagner now has three top 10s in three starts in 2012. Entering this year, Johnson had seven top-10 finishes (two wins) in 139 professional starts.


Dan Forsman ranked in the top-10 in the three main statistical categories at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship. The only winner to accomplish the same feat on the Champions Tour in 2011 was Nick Price at the Toshiba Classic. Forsman was T4 (34/42) in Fairways Hit, T1 (44/54) in Greens In Regulation and T7 (28) in Putts Per Round at Hualalai.

Mark Calcavecchia finished T7 at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, his seventh straight top-10 finish on the Champions Tour since his win at the Boeing Classic last fall.

20 – The number of consecutive sub-par scores Loren Roberts had recorded at Hualalai GC, which ceased when he posted a 3-over 75 in Sunday’s final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Olin Browne is one of four Champions Tour players with a rare distinction - aces on all three Tours. Browne made a hole-in-one during last year's Allianz Championship following aces on both the Nationwide Tour and PGA TOUR. The others are Jim Thorpe, Chip Beck and Dave Barr.

Dan Forsman leads the Charles Schwab Cup with 307 points after his victory in the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. When John Cook won the event last year and led the Charles Schwab Cup standings, it represented the only week eventual champion Tom Lehman didn’t lead the points list.

The last two winners of the Allianz Championship have gone on to become the Champions Tour Player of the Year in the year of their victory (Bernhard Langer/2010 and Tom Lehman/2011).

Kirk Triplett, who becomes eligible for the Champions Tour when he turns 50 on March 29, would have ranked first in Driving Accuracy on the PGA TOUR last year if he had played the required number of rounds (50) to be officially ranked. Triplett hit 76.07% of fairways in 26 rounds last year. Joe Durant led the category with 75.65%.

Gene Sauers, who will join the Champions Tour when he turns 50 in August, was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame last week. Last year, Sauers made a comeback, playing on the Nationwide Tour, after a five-year absence from the game because of injuries and a potentially fatal disorder. He suffered a painful skin condition called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome that required long-term hospitalization and treatment. Sauers was a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR and won almost $5 million during his career.


This week's Farmer Insurance Open includes all 25 Nationwide Tour graduates from last fall's class. The first full-field event of the year, the Sony Open in Hawaii, featured 23 of the top 25. Last week, only the top 17 got in the Humana Challenge.

Nationwide Tour alumni are three for three on the PGA TOUR thus far in 2012, with Mark Wilson capturing the Humana Challenge and the 323rd alumni win on TOUR. Also at the Humana Challenge, 21 of the top-25 finishers had Nationwide Tour experience on their resume.

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