News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
If you want to know how the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup will end this year, watch the final leaderboard at this weeks Wachovia Championship. At least that was true last year. The top four finishers at the Wachovia Championship in 2007 were Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson and Rory Sabbatini'the exact same order in which they finished the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
Experience seems to count at the Wachovia Championship. All five previous winners had at least 11 years experience on the PGA TOUR. David Toms won in 2003 (11th year), Joey Sindelar in 2004 (21st), Vijay Singh in 2005 (13th), Jim Furyk in 2006 (13th) and Tiger Woods in 2007 (11th).
Tiger Woods will be unable to defend his Wachovia Championship title this week while recovering from knee surgery. The last TOUR player to not defend his title was Woods'at the 2007 Buick Open. The last player besides Woods to not defend a title was Ernie Els, who missed the 2005 World Golf Championships-CA Championship after undergoing knee surgery.
Phil Mickelson and Stewart Cink, currently second and third, respectively, in the 2008 FedExCup standings, were the only two players to record top-five finishes at the Wachovia Championship and THE PLAYERS Championship in 2007. Those two events are the next two tournaments on the PGA TOUR schedule. Mickelson tied for third in Charlotte and won THE PLAYERS a year ago, while Cink tied for fifth at the Wachovia Championship and tied for third at THE PLAYERS.
In Adam Scotts last two victories, his final shots were both 48-foot putts. In winning the 2007 Shell Houston Open, Scott made a 48-foot par putt to win by three. Last week at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship, Scott sank a 48-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole to defeat Ryan Moore.
Adam Scott liked the redesigned TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas last week, particularly the 429-yard, par-4 18th hole. In six times playing the finishing hole, Scott made two pars and four birdies, including a tying birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff and the winning putt on the third playoff hole.
Tom Kite will return to his native Texas this week for the FedEx Kinkos Classic. Kite is still looking for his first career win in his home state after 104 starts. Hes been a strong contender at this event in previous years, however. In five previous starts at the tournament hes tied for second (2006), tied for fourth (2003), finished fifth (2007), tied for 12th (2005) and tied for 27th (2004).
The FedEx Kinkos is still looking for its first Texas winner. None of the previous five winners of the tournament have been natives of the state.
Last year Tom Kite had top-10 finishes in all three Texas events (FedEx Kinkos Classic, Administaff Small Business Classic and AT&T Championship). Since the Administaff Small Business Classic began in 2004, giving the Tour three Lone Star State stops on the schedule, only three other players have had top-10 finishes in the three Texas events in the same season: Larry Nelson and Morris Hatalsky in 2004 and Jay Haas in 2006.
The Nationwide Tour heads back to Georgia this week for the South Georgia Classic in Valdosta where the players will face the longest course on any of the three Tours'the 7,781-yard Kinderlou Forest Golf Club.
The Kinderlou Forest Golf Club was the sixth-most-difficult course (of 34) on the Nationwide Tour last year, playing to a stroke average of 73.549 (+1.549).
While Kinderlou Forest Golf Club is the longest course in Tour history, no player who finished among the top 10 in Driving Distance last season was in the top 10 at the 2007 South Georgia Classic.
Until last year, an international player had never led the Nationwide Tour money list. That changed when Wales Richard Johnson earned $445,421 to finish No. 1 on the list in 2007. After eight tournaments, three international players, all from Australia'Jarrod Lyle ($189,090), Greg Chalmers ($161,154) and Ewan Porter ($149,745)'are the top-three money-earners this year.