| - February 18, 2004
- Last week at the Buick Invitational, John Daly not only enjoyed his
career-largest payday, he also guaranteed that 2004 will be his best earnings year since joining the PGA TOUR full-time in 1991. His win in La Jolla, CA, was worth $864,000, easily topping the $230,000 he made for winning the 1991 PGA Championship. Daly's previous-best year on the money list came in 2001, when he won $828,914 in 16 tournaments, or about $35,000 less than he won last week.
- Like Daly, Bo Van Pelt also surpassed his best PGA TOUR earnings
season with one week's worth of work. At the Buick Invitational, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy and Nationwide Tour alum enjoyed his best PGA TOUR finish when he tied for fourth at Torrey Pines and picked up $174,000. Van Pelt's best year on TOUR came in 2002 when he won $139,357.
- Mike Weir will be looking to repeat at the Nissan Open this week.
Only one left-hander in the history of the TOUR has won the same event in consecutive years?Phil Mickelson. He's done it three times (1995-96 Chrysler Classic of Tucson; 2000-01 Buick Invitational; 2001-02 Buick Championship).
- David Toms made his 2004 season debut at the Nissan
Open. He missed the first six weeks of the season while recovering from off-season wrist surgery.
- The tournament that Tiger Woods has competed in the most without
winning is the Nissan Open. Woods is 0-for-8 in his hometown. That pales in comparison to a couple of old winless streaks by some of the biggest names in golf. Arnold Palmer went 0-for-37 at the PGA Championship. Tom Watson was 0-for-31 at the PGA Championship, while Sam Snead had that same record at the U.S. Open. Finally, Jack Nicklaus was winless in 25 appearances at the Bell Canadian Open.
- International players have won three of the last five, and four of
the last six, Nissan Opens. All the international players' wins came in odd-numbered years. Nick Faldo won in 1997, followed by Ernie Els (1999), Robert Allenby (2001) and Mike Weir (2003).
- Winning the Jacob's Creek Open has been a good omen in its first two
years of existence. Both winners? Gavin Coles (2002) and Joe Ogilvie (2003)?went from winning in Australia to graduating to the PGA TOUR the following season.
- The Kooyonga Golf Club, site of this week's Jacob's Creek Open, is
one of the shortest courses on the Nationwide Tour at only 6,711 yards. However, it was the most-difficult course on the Tour last year, playing to a stroke average of 73.778. Four of the 10 hardest holes on Tour in 2003 were located at Kooyonga.
- If the tournament is being played at the Tournament Players Club of
Tampa Bay, Bruce Fleisher has to be the man to watch. In five starts at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am, this week's stop on the Champions Tour, Fleisher has two wins (2000 and 2003), two seconds (1999 and 2001) and a tie for third (2002).
- He's always a good pick as the all-time victory leader on the
Champions Tour, but Hale Irwin should be in the mix this week as well. While he has never won this event, he has not been out of the top 10 in six starts near Tampa. He's been second in each of the last two years.
- Gary Koch's tie-for-second finish at The ACE Group Classic was the
best of his career. The 10-under 62 he shot in the first round was also his best Champions Tour 18-hole round and established a new record at TwinEagles Golf Club.
- He shot a final-round 72, the worst score of any of the top-20
finishers on the final day at last week's ACE Group Classic. But Craig Stadler's second-round 67 may have been the best round of golf shot all week. Besides being the lowest second-round score of the tournament, Stadler did it in steady winds that blew all day, gusting to 30 mph. Stadler's 5-under Saturday score was almost eight strokes better than the field's average of 74.909 in the second round.
- Craig Stadler's win in Naples, FL, was his first PGA TOUR or Champions Tour
title in the Sunshine State. Tom Watson's frustration in Florida remains, however, as the 2003 Champions Tour Player of the Year still has been unable to win a tournament in Florida despite 39 PGA TOUR victories and six Champions Tour titles. He lost in the playoff to Stadler last week.