Tour Championship Notes 2012
2012 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola Pre-Tournament Notes
Dates: September 20 – 23, 2012
Where: East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, GA
Par/Yards: 35-35—70/7,319 yards
Field: 30 2011 champion: Bill Haas
Purse: $8,000,000/$1,400,000 (winner)
FedExCup: 2,500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke-play
Twitter name: @playofffinale
A look at the 2011 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
In a winner-take-all playoff, Bill Haas made a par-3 on the third playoff hole (par-3 18th hole) to defeat Hunter Mahan and win the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and the 2011 FedExCup. On the second playoff hole, Haas executed arguably the shot of the year on the PGA TOUR. After his approach shot to the 470-yard par-4 No. 17 came to rest partially submerged in the lake to the left of the green, Haas blasted out of the hazard to within 4 feet and salvaged par to extend the playoff. Haas became just the third player to win the TOUR Championship in his first appearance and, along with his father Jay, became the first father-son combination to compete in the TOUR Championship. Haas entered the TOUR Championship No. 25 in the FedExCup standings, becoming the lowest-ranked player entering the Playoff Finale to win the FedExCup. He also became the first player in his 20s to win the FedExCup title.
TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola storylines
The TOUR Championship is the culmination of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup season and the final of four FedExCup Playoff events. Road to the TOUR Championship info:
The top 125 players on the Regular Season FedExCup points list qualified for The Barclays (won by Nick Watney).
The top 100 players on the FedExCup points list following The Barclays qualified for the Deutsche Bank Championship (won by Rory McIlroy).
The top 70 players on the points list following the Deutsche Bank Championship qualified for the BMW Championship (won by Rory McIlroy).
The top 30 players following the BMW Championship advance to the TOUR Championship.
Each Playoff event offers 2,500 FedExCup points to the winner.
A points reset took place following the BMW Championship giving all 30 players in the field at the TOUR Championship a mathematical chance to win the FedExCup.
FedExCup Champions since 2007
2007 – Tiger Woods
2008 – Vijay Singh
2009 – Tiger Woods
2010 – Jim Furyk
2011 – Bill Haas
With defending TOUR Championship and FedExCup winner Bill Haas (No. 32) failing to qualify this year, no FedExCup winner has advanced to East Lake the year after they won the season-long points race.
The top five players in the FedExCup standings entering the TOUR Championship control their own destiny and will win the FedExCup title should they go on to victory at East Lake. No. 1 – Rory McIlroy No. 2 – Tiger Woods No. 3 – Nick Watney No. 4 – Phil Mickelson No. 5 – Brandt Snedeker
No. 1 – Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy, a four-time PGA TOUR winner this year, is making the most of his second venture into the FedExCup Playoffs, thanks to a late-season run that has included a win at the PGA Championship (an eight-shot rout and his second career major) and consecutive victories at the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship.
The 23 year old holds the coveted No. 1 position heading into the TOUR Championship and controls his own destiny: win the event, win the FedExCup (and become the youngest player to do so in the FedExCup’s six-year history).
He became the youngest player to win a FedExCup Playoffs event at the Deutsche Bank Championship and moved to No. 1 in the standings for the second time this season (he was No. 1 for two weeks in March, following his third-place finish at World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, a week after he won The Honda Classic).
His win the following week at the third FedExCup Playoffs event, the BMW Championship, made him the fourth player to win consecutive events in the FedExCup Playoffs since its inception in 2007, joining Tiger Woods (2007 BMW Championship, TOUR Championship), Vijay Singh (2008 The Barclays, Deutsche Bank Championship) and Camilo Villegas (2008 BMW Championship, TOUR Championship).
McIlroy will look to break a recent trend that has seen the leading player in the FedExCup standings entering the TOUR Championship fail to win the FedExCup title. In 2011, Webb Simpson held the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup heading to East Lake, but finished a disappointing 22nd in the tournament to fall to No. 2 in the standings. In 2010, Matt Kuchar slipped from No. 1 to No. 2 thanks to a T20 finish at East Lake. Woods (2007 and 2009) and Singh (2008) were both leading the points standings entering the TOUR Championship when they went on to win the FedExCup title. With a victory, McIlroy would join Chad Campbell (2003), Bart Bryant (2005) and Haas (2011) as the only players to win the TOUR Championship in their first appearance.
No. 2 – Tiger Woods
For the first time, Tiger Woods enters the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola not ranked No. 1.
In 2007 and 2009, he began the FedExCup Playoffs at the top of the standings and reclaimed that spot heading to the Playoff Finale thanks to wins at the BMW Championship. He then ended the season at No. 1 as well, making him the only multiple FedExCup champion in the series’ six-year history.
Woods returns to East Lake Golf Club for the first time since he finished runner-up at the TOUR Championship in 2009 and went on to win the FedExCup. The 74-time PGA TOUR winner failed to advance to the Playoff Finale in 2010 and didn’t qualify for the post-season in 2011, as he was ranked No. 132 at the end of the Regular Season. (Woods missed the better part of 2008 due to injury).
Woods recorded his first of three wins this season – and first since the 2009 BMW Championship – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard (moved to No. 7 in FedExCup points), then tied Jack Nicklaus for second on the all-time PGA TOUR wins’ list (73) with a two-shot victory at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance, which brought him to No. 3 in the FedExCup standings. He would stay in the top 10 for the rest of the Regular Season, buoyed by another win at the AT&T National in July that took him to No. 1 in the FedExCup and put him behind only Sam Snead in the PGA TOUR’s all-time wins’ list (Snead has 82).
No. 3 – Nick Watney
Last year, Nick Watney was ranked No. 7 heading to East Lake, and that was more because of what he did in the Regular Season (two wins, eight top-10 finishes which had him No. 1 in the standings at the start of the Playoffs) and less about how he performed over the three Playoff events.
This year, it’s the complete opposite story. Watney salvaged a disappointing 2012 campaign, one in which he recorded only two top-10 finishes, by winning the first FedExCup Playoffs event at The Barclays, vaulting him from No. 49 in the standings to No. 1. That marked the first time he had been in the top 10 in the standings since the 2011 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and gave Watney his fifth career PGA TOUR victory.
Since The Barclays, Watney’s finishes have declined in the Playoffs, but he has done well at East Lake in three previous starts, posting a 63 during the third round in 2010 and finishing T4.
No. 4 – Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson carded a final-round, bogey-free 8-under 64 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February to storm back from a six-stroke deficit (matching the largest comeback of his career) and win his 40th PGA TOUR event by two strokes. His fourth victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am moved him to No. 5 in the FedExCup standings, and he stayed in the top 10 through mid-July.
Two consecutive top-five finishes in the FedExCup Playoffs (T4 at the Deutsche Bank Championships and T2 at the BMW Championship) boosted Mickelson into the coveted top five in FedExCup points, and his record at East Lake, which includes tournament victories in 2000 and 2009, makes him a contender at the FedExCup season finale.
Mickelson joins Tiger Woods (1999, 2007), Adam Scott (2006) and Jim Furyk (2010) as past TOUR Championship winners who made this year’s field. Mickelson, Steve Stricker (No. 13) and Hunter Mahan (No. 23) are the only players to advance to the TOUR Championship in each of the first six years of the FedExCup.
No. 5 – Brandt Snedeker
Brandt Snedeker has experienced the ups and downs of the FedExCup.
In 2007, Snedeker was voted PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year after becoming the only rookie to advance to the TOUR Championship in the first year of the FedExCup (since then, four additional players have done so, including rookie John Huh this year). But in 2009, his four-putt at the 72nd hole of the BMW Championship cost him a spot in the TOUR Championship. Then in 2011, he shot 61 during the final round of The Barclays, allowing him to jump from a T29 to T3 finish and moving him to No. 6 in the standings.
He was just outside the coveted top five heading to Atlanta last year, but two strong finishes to start the 2012 FedExCup Playoffs give him his best chance, to date, of making a run at the title.
Snedeker began the FedExCup Playoffs ranked No. 19 after a solid 2012 Regular Season, which included his playoff victory over Kyle Stanley at the Farmers Insurance Open. There, Snedeker made up a seven-shot deficit to claim his third career PGA TOUR victory (and third in come-from-behind fashion).
Survive and Advance
Seven players in the field began the FedExCup Playoffs ranked between Nos. 31-70 in the FedExCup standings and played their way into the TOUR Championship.
Nick Watney is currently #3, but started #49
Louis Oosthuizen, #6 from #34
Lee Westwood, #8 from #51
Sergio Garcia, #12 from #33
Adam Scott, #21 from #32
Ryan Moore, #28 from #64
John Senden, #29 from #37
Miscellaneous Field Notes
Rory McIlroy (No. 1 – 4 victories), Tiger Woods (No. 2 – 3 victories), Zach Johnson (No. 9 – 2 victories), Jason Dufner (No. 10 – 2 victories) and Hunter Mahan (No. 23 – 2 victories) are the five players with multiple victories in 2012.
Tiger Woods has finished second at the TOUR Championship four times, the most runner-up finishes in tournament history (2000, 2004, 2005 and 2009). The four runner-ups are also the most second-place finishes in any single event in Woods’ career.
Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) is the highest-ranked player without a victory on the PGA TOUR in 2012.
There are a total of eight players in the field without a victory on the PGA TOUR: Ooshuizen (No. 6), Lee Westwood (No. 8), Jim Furyk (No. 18), Bo Van Pelt (No. 19), Robert Garrigus (No. 20), Adam Scott (No. 21), Ryan Moore (No. 28) and John Senden (No. 29).
Bill Haas (2011) is the only winner of the FedExCup to not record a victory on TOUR until the TOUR Championship.
For the first time since 2009, all four major championship winners have qualified for the TOUR Championship. PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy is No. 1, Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson is No. 11, British Open winner Ernie Els is No. 22 and U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson is No. 25.
With a victory, Rory McIlroy would win the FedExCup and join Chad Campbell (2003), Bart Bryant (2005) and Bill Haas (2011) as players to win the TOUR Championship in their first appearance.
A total of seven players are making their first appearance at the TOUR Championship this week. They are: McIlroy (No. 1); Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6); Lee Westwood (No. 8); Robert Garrigus (No. 20); John Huh (No. 26); Rickie Fowler (No. 27); and Scott Piercy (No. 30).
Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els are each playing in the TOUR Championship for the 16th time in their career, matching Vijay Singh and Davis Love III for the most appearances in tournament history.
There are four past champions of the TOUR Championship in the field this week. They are: Tiger Woods (1999, 2007); Phil Mickelson (2000, 2009); Jim Furyk (2010); and Adam Scott (2006).
The field for the TOUR Championship features 22 of the 32 different winners on the PGA TOUR in 2012. Winners on TOUR in 2012 who did not advance to the TOUR Championship are Johnson Wagner (Sony Open in Hawaii – No. 36), Mark Wilson (Humana Challenge – No. 59), Kyle Stanley (Waste Management Phoenix Open – No. 31), Bill Haas (Northern Trust Open -No. 32), George McNeill (Puerto Rico Open – 86), Ben Curtis (Valero Texas Open – 41), Marc Leishman (Travelers Championship – No. 46), Ted Potter, Jr. (The Greenbrier Classic – 93), Scott Stallings (True South Classic – No. 75) and J.J. Henry (Reno-Tahoe Open – No. 80).
In 2011, Bill Haas became the first player in his 20s to win the FedExCup title at the age of 29 years, 4 months and 1 day. Here is the age breakdown for the 2012 TOUR Championship field:
The youngest player in the field is PGA TOUR Rookie John Huh, who will be 22 years, 4 months and 2 days old on Sunday, September 23.
The oldest player in the field is Steve Stricker, who will be 45 years and 7 months old on Sunday, September 23.
The oldest winner of the TOUR Championship is Mark McCumber, who was 43 years, 1 month and 23 days old when he won the event in 1994.
The youngest winner of the TOUR Championship was Tiger Woods in 1999 at the age of 23 years, 10 months and 1 day.
Players in their 20s include Rory McIlroy (No. 1), Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6), Dustin Johnson (No. 7), Keegan Bradley (No. 14), Webb Simpson (No. 25), Huh (No. 26), Rickie Fowler (No. 27) and Ryan Moore (No. 28). A player in his 20s has only won the TOUR Championship seven times in the previous 25 installments of the TOUR Championship, most recently Bill Haas last year (29 days, 4 months, 1 day). Other winners of the TOUR Championship in their 20s include Camilo Villegas (2008, 26 years, 8 months 21 days), Adam Scott (2006, 26 years, 3 months, 20 days), Chad Campbell (2003, 25 years, 5 months, 9 days), Tiger Woods (1999, 23 years, 10 months, 1 day), David Duval (1997, 25 years, 11 months, 24 days) and Billy Mayfair (1995, 29 years, 2 months 23 days).
There are 10 international players in the field representing six countries outside of the United States: England – Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Justin Rose; Australia – Adam Scott and John Senden; South Africa – Louis Oosthuizen and Ernie Els; Northern Ireland – Rory McIlroy; Spain – Sergio Garcia; Sweden – Carl Pettersson
John Huh is the only rookie to advance to the TOUR Championship of the 11 that started the FedExCup Playoffs at The Barclays.
Huh becomes the fifth rookie to advance to the TOUR Championship in the six-year history of the FedExCup. The previous five all went on to be named PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year. They are: Brandt Snedeker (2007); Andres Romero (2008); Marc Leishman (2009); and Keegan Bradley (2011).
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