Haas Cup Win Wraps Up Champions Tour Season

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SONOMA, Calif. -- Jay Haas won the Charles Schwab Cup on Sunday when Loren Roberts missed a 4 1/2 -foot putt on the final hole of the final tournament of the Champions Tour season.
 
Most of the tour's season-ending awards were won in much less dramatic fashion.
 
Haas earned a $1 million annuity when he claimed his first Schwab Cup, the over-50 circuit's reward for his narrow triumph in a season-long points competition. His 20-point margin of victory was the smallest in the award's history: 3,053 to 3,033 for Roberts.
 
Haas also won the Arnold Palmer Award as the tour's leading money-winner, finishing with $2,420,227 in earnings -- the most by any player on the Champions Tour since Hale Irwin won slightly more than $3 million in 2002.
 
According to Haas, who has won nearly $14.5 million in his still-active career on the PGA TOUR, his third full season on the Champions Tour was among the highlights of his professional life.

'It's a thrill to be taking a picture with that trophy,' Haas said of the golden Schwab Cup. 'And it was a goal of mine at the start of the year to lead the money list and win the Schwab Cup. ... That I've led the money list at least once in my life is a pretty neat thing.'
 
Haas and Roberts won four tournaments apiece and dueled throughout the season for both the Schwab Cup and the money title, as well as the Byron Nelson Award for the lowest scoring average.
 
Though Roberts just missed the 18th-hole putt at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship that would have clinched the Cup, he still won the Nelson Award with a 69.01 average -- barely better than Haas' 69.07.
 
'I'm happy for Jay, because he played great all year,' said Roberts, who shot 40 of his 67 rounds in the 60s to win the closest Nelson Award race since 2000. 'He deserves this, and he deserves the recognition, because he's been a great player out here for 30 years.'
 
Though Roberts' putter let him down at the worst possible time, the 'Boss of the Moss' was the Champions Tour's top putter with a 1.726 average. He only three-putted 19 times -- including that final hole, unfortunately -- in his 21 tournaments.
 
Tom Watson, who won the 2005 Schwab Cup, finished as the Champions Tour's leader in hitting greens in regulation, while Haas had the highest birdie average at 4.51.
 
Dan Pohl was the tour's longest driver with an average of 293 yards. He twice led the PGA Tour in driving distance in 1980 and 1981 -- both times with lower averages than he posted as a senior.
 
Jim Thorpe won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Sonoma on Sunday to become the 19th winner on the circuit, matching the number from last season.
 
And while Haas and Roberts rose to the top of the tour, the most dominant player in the circuit's history showed signs of slowing down.
 
Irwin, who has won a record 44 Champions Tour tournaments, failed to win an event for the first time since joining in 1995 -- a tour-record, 11-season streak.
 
Irwin had won at least two events every season, but won just $808,111 this year -- finishing 22nd on the money list after never missing the top 10. Though Irwin has struggled with injuries in recent years, he felt more frustration than pain as his least impressive season ended.
 
But 12 players won at least $1 million in another strong year for the Champions Tour, which will get a few high-profile additions next year.
 
Mark O'Meara, the 1998 Masters and U.S. Open champion, will turn 50 on Jan. 13, and two-time PGA Championship winner Nick Price will join him 15 days later. Both are expected to play regularly on the Champions Tour -- as is Seve Ballesteros, the two-time Masters champ who turns 50 in April, and Bernhard Langer, who follows in August.
 
'We've had great competition,' tour president Rick George said. 'Our scoring average continues to be on par, and I think it's becoming more competitive out here. The guys continue to raise the bar on the game.'
 
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