News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
Phil Mickelson is the reigning King of the Desert. Hes won seven PGA TOUR events played in the deserts in the western U.S. He has three wins in the old Tucson event and two each at the FBR Open and the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. No one else has more than three wins in the desert.
More on Mickelson: He has eight Top-10 finishes at the TPC Scottsdale, including four in the last five seasons. Over the last five years at the FBR Open, Mickelson has 14 rounds in the 60s (out of 18) and is a collective 60 under par.
At least one rookie has won a tournament in the past nine years and 19 of the last 20. The only year in the last 20 in which no rookie was able to win was 1998. Two rookies won last year'Brandt Snedeker and George McNeill.
Its important for rookies to get off to a good start in order to maintain or improve their eligibility status. Four rookies are already among the Top 50 on the FedExCup points list'Dustin Johnson (21st), Chez Reavie (25th), Matt Jones (39th) and Brett Rumford (43rd).
When Fred Couples finished in a T8 last week at the Buick Invitational, it marked his first Top-10 finish since he was T3 at the 2006 Masters.
Mark OMeara spends most of his time now on the Champions Tour, but last week the 51-year old made the cut at the Buick Invitational before finishing 66th.
Look for someone with Phoenix-area ties to contend this week at the FBR Open. Players with ties to the area have won seven of the last 12 FBR Opens including last year when local resident Aaron Baddeley won.
Ryuji Imada is not known as a big hitter. In fact, he was 148th on TOUR in Driving Distance last year. Last week, though, he nailed the longest drive of the young season at the Buick Invitational. His final-round blast on the 14th hole hit a cart path before going 414 yards.
Mark Wiebe joined the Champions Tour last September, but he didnt have his first 3-putt until last weeks Turtle Bay Championship. Wiebes 3-putt on the ninth hole of the opening round ended a stretch of 296 hole without one.
Two PGA TOUR veterans posted their best finishes in quite some time last week in Hawaii. Fulton Allems T2 was his best finish since he won the 1993 World Series of Golf and Wayne Gradys T4 was his best effort since winning the 1990 PGA Championship.
Fred Funks run of 15 consecutive sub-par rounds ended with a crash last week with a final-round 81 in tough conditions at the Turtle Bay Championship. Funk finished in four-event, two-Tour swing of Hawaii with $185,571 in earnings on the PGA TOUR and $310,103 on the Champions Tour. Hes set a goal of winning $2 million on each Tour this year.
While this weeks Mexico Open presented by Corona is a new event on the Nationwide Tour, its not a new event. In fact, this years playing of the Mexico Open will be the 50th in its history. It will be the second Nationwide Tour event to be played in Mexico'the Monterrey Open was held from 1993-2001.
When Scott Dunlap won last weeks season-opening Panama Movistar Championship, it marked the sixth different country in which hes won an event. Dunlap has won professional events in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Peru, Argentina and now Panama.
The 3-under winning score posted by Scott Dunlap last week in Panama was one of the highest winning scores in a 72-hole event in Tour history. Only the even par score shot by Omar Uresti at last years Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship at Wente Vineyards and the 1 under shot by Doug Martin at the 1993 South Texas Open were fewer strokes under-par.