PGA TOUR:Mark Calcavecchia opened last years PODS Championship with a 75 before going on to victory. It was the highest opening round score by a winner in 10 years or since Jeff Sluman did the same thing at the 1997 Tucson Open. Since the TOUR started tracking such things in 1970, 76 is the highest opening round score that eventually led to victory. Its been done five times, but not since Mike Sullivan accomplished the feat at the 1989 Shell Houston Open.
Theres a good field assembled at the PODS Championship this week with five of the Top 10 and 21 of the Top 30 players in the current FedExCup standings on hand.
Scott Verplank will be back in action this week looking to extend his TOUR-best streak of consecutive rounds of par or better. Verplank enters the week with 27 in a row. Tiger Woods holds the record of 52 set during the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
You might look for an international winner this week at the PODS Championship. Five of the previous seven winners have hailed from outside the U.S.'K.J. Choi of Korea (twice), Retief Goosen of South Africa, Vijay Singh of Fiji and Carl Pettersson of Sweden.
Second-year player Steve Marino is quietly putting together a strong sophomore season. Marino has made the cut in all seven of his starts with four Top-25 finishes. Hes 17th in the FedExCup standings and leads the TOUR with 14 rounds in the 60s.
There were some huge leaps made in the FedExCup standings last week following The Honda Classic. Winner Ernie Els climbed 171 spots all the way to 11th while Brett Quigley and Jose Coceres climbed 115 and 114 spots, respectively.
Scott Hoch is entered this week in the Toshiba Classic and will be seeking his third consecutive victory on the Champions Tour. The last person to perform the feat was Jay Haas during the 2006 season. The all-time record is four in a row set by Chi Chi Rodriguez in 1987.
More on Hoch: He tuned up for this weeks Toshiba Classic by playing in The Honda Classic on the PGA TOUR last week. The 52-year old made the cut before finishing in a T65.
Sandy Lyle will be making his Champions Tour debut this week in Newport Beach looking to join a long list of players who have won in their initial starts on the Tour. A total of 12 have done so, including Mark Wiebe who did it last year at the SAS Championship.
Look for low scoring this week at the Toshiba Classic. Newport Beach CC is the second-shortest course on the Champions Tour and last year it played to a stroke average of 69.722 for the week. Jay Haas set the tournament record last year with his 19-under winning total.
NATIONWIDE TOUR:Two members of the Class of 2007 posted their top finishes of their young PGA TOUR careers this past week at The Honda Classic. Matt Jones (T4) and Michael Letzig (T7), each had their first career Top-10 finish.
The victory by Ernie Els at The Honda Classic was the 222nd win by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR.
With the exception of two tournaments that have only been held once, the PODS Championship is the only tournament on the PGA TOUR that has not been won by a former Nationwide Tour player.
Thanks to his win at the Moonah Classic, Ewan Porter is the latest Aussie to join the Nationwide Tour or PGA TOUR. In fact, 43 Australians now compete on the two.