| - April 20, 2004
- You might look for a veteran to win this week at the Shell Houston
Open. The last three winners of this event have averaged 41.3 years of age -- Hal Sutton (2001, 42); Vijay Singh (2002, 39) and Fred Couples (2003, 43).
- Another thing to look for this week is distance off the tee. The top
four finishers last year in the tournament all averaged over 300 yards for the week -- Couples (1st, 301.0); Mark Calcavecchia (T2, 301.6); Stuart Appleby (T2, 302.9) and Hank Kuehne (T2, 314.8)
- Speaking of distance, this week's Shell Houston Open will feature three
of the longest Tour players to be found anywhere. Hank Kuehne, the TOUR's leading driver last year at 321.4, will be joined by John Daly (TOUR's leading driver 11 times) and last year's Nationwide Tour driving distance leader, Victor Schwamkrug. Schwamkrug, a sponsor exemption this week, was the longest of them all last year with a record 339.3 average.
- How important is a good short game? Only one tournament has been won
this year by the player who led the field in Ball-Striking (Phil Mickelson at the Masters).
- With his victory at the MCI Heritage, Stewart Cink now has four Top-10
finishes at the course in five tries. He won in 2000 and 2004, T10 in 2003 and 2001 and missed the cut in 2002.
- Both Mark Hensby and Kirk Triplett are quietly having very strong
seasons. Hensby has five Top-15 finishes, is 52-under par for the season and has won $989,106. Triplett has four Top-10s, is 55-under par and has collected $793,403.
- This week's Shell Houston Open will be the first of four TOUR events in
the State of Texas this season. Florida has the most official money events with six, while California is next with five.
- Phil Mickelson is 94-under par for the season and has posted 22 scores
in the 60s in 33 rounds of competition. He's been under-par in every start this year. In fact, his worst finish this year has been a 5-under effort at the BellSouth Classic.
- Gil Morgan has not posted a score above-par this season. He's been
par-or-better in all 21 rounds in 2004 with 14 of them in the 60s.
- Jerry Pate finished in a T12 at last week's Blue Angels Classic in his
hometown of Pensacola for his best finish since joining the Champions Tour. It's his best finish in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned official money event since he finished fourth at the 1984 Bank of Boston Classic.
- Hubert Green made his first start since January last week in Pensacola
and while still regaining his strength from his cancer treatments, he showed improvement each day. Green opened with an 80, but bounced back to shoot scores of 76-72 on the weekend.
- Tom Jenkins' victory at the Blue Angels Classic made him the eighth
different winner in eight events this year on the Champions Tour. It also made him the 10th different winner in 10 tournaments in Pensacola.
- Stewart Cink's victory last week at the MCI Heritage was the 144th win
by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR.
- Four of last year's graduating class have moved right to the top of the
pack on the PGA TOUR this season. Zach Johnson (#15), Mark Hensby (#23), Ted Purdy (#38) and Bo Van Pelt (#48) are all among the Top 50 money winners on the PGA TOUR this year.
- Jimmy Walker set and tied two Nationwide Tour records last week. He
set a new record for eclipsing the $200,000 mark in season earnings in only five tournaments and he tied Vaughn Taylor's record of reaching $200,000 in only five starts.
- One more on Walker: He's playing on the PGA TOUR this week as a
sponsor exemption into the Shell Houston Open.
- Daniel Chopra's win last week at The First Tee Arkansas Classic made
him the first Swede to win on the Nationwide Tour. Winners on the Tour
now have hailed from 15 different countries outside the U.S.