Champions Tour Statistical Winners
Arnold Palmer Award (official money title) ' Jay Haas, $2,420,227
Haas total was the highest since Hale Irwin won a record $3,028,304 in 2002. Haas finished $54,832 ahead of No. 2 Loren Roberts. He also became the first player on Tour to win both the Arnold Palmer Award and the Charles Schwab Cup in the same year since Tom Watson did so in 2003.
Byron Nelson Award (lowest scoring average) -- Loren Roberts, 69.01
Roberts' stroke average in 2006 was the lowest on the Champions Tour since Tom Watson in 2003 (68.81). Jay Haas finished second (69.07). Of his 67 rounds played on the Champions Tour this year, Roberts had 52 sub-par scores and recorded 40 rounds in the 60s. The .06 differential between Roberts and Haas was the closest race since 2000 when Gil Morgan (68.83) nipped Larry Nelson (68.87).
Driving Distance -- Dan Pohl, 293.0
For the second consecutive year, Pohl topped the Champions Tour in Driving Distance. In 2005, his average drive was (300.5). Pohl led the PGA TOUR in Driving Distance in 1980 (274.3) and 1981 (280.1).
Driving Accuracy Percentage -- David Edwards, 83.79%
Edwards led the PGA TOUR in Driving Accuracy in 1994 (81.6%). He topped the field in this category at four events (Senior PGA Championship, 3M Championhip, Boeing Greater Seattle Classic, JELD-WEN Tradition).
Greens In Regulation Percentage -- Tom Watson, 76.42%
Watson's percentage was the highest on the Champions Tour since Tom Kite in 2000 (78.0). Watson finished second in this category in 2002 with a previous-best of 74.87.
All-Around -- Jay Haas, 87
Haas didn't finish lower than 26th (Driving Accuracy Percentage) in any individual stats category and was among the top 5 in Birdie Average (first), Putting Average (second), Scoring Average (second) and Greens In Regulation Percentage (fourth).
Total Driving -- Mark James, 24
James claimed this stats category for the second time in three years. He won in 2004 with 41. He became the first international player to claim this stats category twice. Scotland's Brian Barnes also was the Champions Tour's leader in Total Driving in 1996 (30). Last year, James ranked 11th in Driving Accuracy Percentage (77.08%) and 13th in Driving Distance (278.7).
Putting Average -- Loren Roberts, 1.726
Nicknamed 'The Boss of the Moss', Roberts' average was the best on the Champions Tour since Rodger Davis in 2003 (1.726). He was the PGA TOUR's leading putter in 1994 (1.737). Roberts had 439 one-putts and only three-putted 19 times in 21 Champions Tour events in 2006.
Birdie Average -- Jay Haas, 4.51
Haas had 302 birdies in his 67 rounds played on the Champions Tour this year. Last year, his birdie average was 4.33.
Eagles (Holes per) -- Hajime Meshiai, 92.0
Meshiai made nine eagles in the 828 holes he played on the Champions Tour this year.
Sand Save Percentage -- Jerry Pate, 62.07
Pate made 36 saves in 58 attempts from the sand in 2006. He was perfect getting it up-and-down out of the bunker in five of the 14 events he played this year before surgery shortened his season in mid-July.
The 2006 Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year will be voted on by active members of the Champions Tour. An announcement about the winners will be made in December.
Information courtesy of the PGA TOUR
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.