Couch has consistently done nothing on the PGA TOUR this season. Hes played 14 tournaments and has missed 11 cuts. Yet, he doesnt have to worry about losing his card ' not for another two years. Thats because Couch caught lightning in a bottle in New Orleans and won the Zurich Classic. That netted him a two-year exemption on TOUR and gave him a check for $1,080,000, which accounts for an astounding 98 percent of his season earnings.
Such a scenario is not unfamiliar to Couch. He made only 10 of 21 cuts on the Nationwide Tour a year ago, but managed to finish third on the money list. Thats because he won twice in a three-tournament span to assure himself of a promotion.
The second of those two wins, the one that really wrapped up his 2006 PGA TOUR card, came at the LaSalle Bank Open. Couch shot four sub-70 scores and won by four strokes over Kevin Durkin, Paul Gow and Mario Tiziani.
This has been a very good tournament for players looking to graduate to the next level. All four past champions have finished their respective seasons high enough on the Nationwide money list to advance to the PGA TOUR the following season. That list includes Marco Dawson (2002), Andre Stoltz (2003), Brendan Jones (2004) and Couch.
This is the 12th event of the season. The Glen Club in Glenview, Ill., will play host for the third straight year. Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Long Grove held the inaugural tournament in 02.
Jones holds the aggregate 72-hole tournament scoring record at 268 (16 under). It was a par 71 in both 2004 and 2005. Prior to that, the tournament was a par 72, and Stoltz shot 17-under 271 to set the scoring record in relation to par.
The Golf Channel will provide exlcusive four-round coverage of the event, beginning Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET.