News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
Arron Oberholser did not get to defend his 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title due to injury, but hell be back in the field this week. He missed the early portion of the 2007 season due to a bulging disc in his back and has not played since the Frys Electronics Open last year since he underwent surgery on his left wrist.
With his victory last week at the FBR Open, J.B. Holmes became the seventh player (since 1960) to win his first two TOUR titles in the same event. Holmes joins a list that includes Hale Irwin, Dave Eichelberger, Calvin Peete, Loren Roberts, Brian Henninger and Vaughn Taylor'all of whom won their first two titles in the same tournament.
More on Holmes: His victory last week boosted his FedExCup points total to 4,958. He earned only 2,860 in all of 2007 while finishing 112th in the regular season. Hes currently second, just four points behind K.J. Choi.
Greg Norman will make his first PGA TOUR start since the 2006 International when he tees it up this week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. It will be just the sixth time in his career that Norman has played in the tournament and his first since 1992.
With an expanded field this week of 180 players, the entire class of PGA TOUR rookies was eligible to play. Of the 25 rookies on TOUR, all but two'Nick Flanagan and Chez Reavie'will compete this week. Through the first five weeks of the season, Dustin Johnson leads the rookie pack standing in 30th place in the FedExCup standings. Reavie is next on the list in 32nd place. To date, 24 members of the rookie class have earned FedExCup points.
Defending champs this year have either done very well, or not well at all. Three of the five have earned Top-10 finishes in their efforts to repeat (with Tiger Woods actually repeating) and two have missed the cut. Vijay Singh and Charley Hoffman joined Tiger in finishing among the Top-10 while Paul Goydos and Aaron Baddeley both missed the cut.
Winning the Turtle Bay Championship has traditionally led to having a great season. Of the 20 previous winners of the tournament, three have gone on to lead the money list that year with 12 finishing in the Top 5 and 15 finishing in the Top 10. Might be a good idea to watch and see how Jerry Pate does this year.
After playing for the last five weeks, Fred Funk is finally taking a week off. Through two starts on the Champions Tour, Funk finds himself in first place in the Charles Schwab Cup standings and after three PGA TOUR starts, hes 49th on the FedExCup points list.
Loren Roberts strong start on the Champions Tour continues as hes one of only two players to finish in the Top-10 in each of the first two events of the season. Bernhard Langer is the other. Dating back to the end of last season, Roberts has finished in the Top-10 in four of his last five starts. He has 39 career Top-10 finishes in only 52 starts.
When Jarrod Lyle won last weeks Mexico Open presented by Corona, he became the 21st Australian to win on the Nationwide Tour. Thats far and away the most from any country outside the U.S. Runner-up Canada has had 10 different players win since the Tour began in 1990.
More on Aussies: At least one Aussie has won annually on the Nationwide Tour since 2001. Further, at least one native Australian has won in 11 of the last 12 seasons.
Veteran Steve Pate finished in a T5 last week in Mexico for his best career finish on the Nationwide Tour in 47 starts. It was his best finish anywhere since a T4 at the 2003 Travelers Championship on the PGA TOUR. Pate, by the way, will be competing this week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.