Notes: Race for Schwab Cup intensifies this week

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October 08, 2012
Champions Tour staff

The Champions Tour heads to Conover, NC for the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn Golf & Spa (October 8-14). The purse for this event is $1.6 million and the winner will receive $240,000 and 240 Charles Schwab Cup points. Last year, Mark Wiebedefeated James Mason with a par on the third playoff hole to claim his third Champions Tour victory.

RECENTLY

• Following his win at the 3M Championship in August, Bernhard Langer posted his second win of the 2012 season at the SAS Championship. Langer one-putted five of his last six holes giving him a two-stroke win over Jay Don Blake.

• The SAS Championship victory was the 16th of Bernhard Langer's Champions Tour career and he is now tied with Jay Haas for 15th place on the all-time list.

Bernhard Langer's SAS Championship win moved him into first place on the 2012 Champions Tour money list with $1,818,896 ahead of Michael Allen ($1,577,878), who had lead that category for 13 of the last 15 weeks.

Larry Nelson finished T6 at the SAS Championship, his best showing in a Champions Tour event since he was T3 at the 2010 AT&T Championship, Tommy Armour III posted his first top-10 finish of the year with a T4, Neal Lancaster finished T25 in his Champions Tour debut and defending champion Kenny Perry finished T6.

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• The Champions Tour announced last week that the Greater Gwinnett Championship will be held at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga. April 15-21, 2013. The course will host the tournament through 2016. The Greater Gwinnett Championship will be presented by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. The last time a Champions Tour event was played in the Atlanta area was 12 years ago when Hale Irwin won the Nationwide Championship at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta.

• The 2013 Presidents Cup International Team Captain Nick Price last week named Shigeki Maruyama, Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone as his captain's assistants for next year's event, while U.S. Team Captain Fred Couples named Jay Haas as one of his captain's assistants and will make an additional announcement in the coming months. This marks the first time that each captain has the option of naming three official assistants, a change that was recently announced by PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem.

Nick Price will return to South African for the annual Nedbank Champions Challenge next month at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City. Price will line up against fellow Champions Tour professionals Tom Watson, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Fred Funk, Jay Haas, Jeff Sluman and defending champion Mark Calcavecchia in one of the strongest senior fields ever to compete at Sun City.

COMING UP

• This year marks the 10th anniversary for the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. After being played in mid-June last year, the tournament returns to its traditional late summer/early fall date on the calendar.

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• Charles Schwab Cup leader Tom Lehman will play in the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn Golf & Spa for the first time in his career.

• Mark O'Meara is back on the Champions Tour in a big way after being out of action for four months with torn cartilage in his rib area while getting ready for the Masters. Since returning to the Champions Tour in early August at the 3M Championship, O'Meara was T10 at the 3M Championship, T7 at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, lost in a playoff to Jay Don Blake at the Boeing Classic, was T8 at the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship and was T9 at the SAS Championship. He's now 36th on the 2012 money list and eyeing a spot in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship after being in 89th position prior to the 3M Championship.

Tom Kite made three eagles on the same nine during the second round of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn last year. Kite became the first player in Champions Tour history to make three eagles on the same nine and just the sixth player overall to make three eagles in a round.

• Stars from four different sports will join namesake Dale Jarrett for the Dale Jarrett Shootout during the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin, former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann, former NBA star Dell Curry and Olympic gold medalist Dan Jansen will join Jarrett in Tuesday's nine-hole exhibition. In addition, the top-five finishers from Monday's Greater Hickory High School Classic will also play in the event.

• The Great Grand Champions will be in the clubhouse sharing some memories before showing their skills on the Jackson course on Wednesday. Those competing in the Great Grand Champions Pro-Am this year are Miller Barber, World Golf Hall of Fame member Billy Casper, Lee Elder, Jim Ferree, Dow Finsterwald, Jack Fleck, World Golf Hall of Fame member Doug Ford, Bob Goalby, Fred Hawkins, Don January, World Golf Hall of Fame member Gene Littler, Billy Maxwell, Doug Sandersand World Golf Hall of Fame member Charlie Sifford. • A total of eight players have competed in all nine of the previous Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn events. Here's a list along with total earnings and best finish:

Player Total Earnings Best Finish
Andy Bean $452,999 1st-2006
David Eger $172,745 T8-2011
Bruce Fleisher $250,826 2-2004
Walter Hall $121,422 T9-2003
John Harris $122,166 T4-2005
Tom Jenkins $359.848 T2-2008
Larry Nelson $313,977 2-2003
Bobby Wadkins $121,473 T5-2004

CHARLES SCHWAB CUP

• With 315 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race added from his SAS Championship win, Bernhard Langer moved into the lead with 2,208 points, 69 better than Tom Lehman, who had led for the last eight weeks. Lehman did not play last week. Roger Chapman (1,756), Michael Allen (1,556) and Fred Couples(1,530) round out the top five.

Tom Lehman (2011) and Bernhard Langer(2010) will battle it out in an attempt to become the fifth multiple winner of the Charles Schwab Cup. Lehman is bidding to become the first player ever to win the Schwab Cup in back-to-back seasons, while Langer is attempting to join Hale Irwin (2002, 2004), Tom Watson (2003, 2005), Jay Haas (2006, 2008) and Loren Roberts (2007, 2009) as players who won their second Cup two years after their first.

• With 1,398 Charles Schwab Cup points available to the winner in the three remaining events in 2012, it is now mathematically impossible for Jay Haas (15th and 1,411 points behind Bernhard Langer), and any player beyond that position, to win the Charles Schwab Cup.

NUMBERS

1,147 -- The number of birdies made at last year's Great Hickory Classic at Rock Barn Golf & Spa, an all-time record for most birdies made in a three-round event on the Champions Tour.

DID YOU KNOW??

Each past champion of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn receives one of golf's unique prizes -- The Kennedy Rocker, from the P&P/Troutman Chair Company. President John F. Kennedy collected more than 12 P&P rockers during his time in office and placed them in spots he frequented. JFK's purpose for the rocker grew from the positive therapeutic results he achieved with his back.

ON THIS DATE

10/11/91 -- Chip Beck ties a PGA TOUR record when he shoots a 13-under 59 in the third round of the Las Vegas Invitational.

10/13/85 -- Mike Fetchick celebrates his 63rd birthday by winning the Hilton Head Seniors International, making him the oldest winner in Champions Tour history.

10/13/91 -- Andrew Magee fires 31-under 329 at the Las Vegas Invitational (then the 90-hole scoring record) and then needs two extra holes to defeat D.A. Weibring for the title.

QUOTES TO NOTE

"It's going to be a great shootout with Tom." -- Bernhard Langer predicts an exciting finish as he leads Tom Lehman by 69 points in the Charles Schwab Cup race with three events remaining.

"Sounds like the Champions Tour is going to be well represented in the Presidents Cup." -- Fred Couples' response to Nick Price's selection of Mark McNulty (along with Tony Johnstone and Shigeki Maruyama) as one of his assistant captains for the 2013 event. Couples named Jay Haas as one of his assistants.

"I told my wife we've been married 30 years and I've only known her for 15 because I used to travel half the time and she stayed home and raised the kids." -- Kenny Perry reflects on his recent four week break from golf, the longest break he has ever taken from the game.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Larry Nelson@Larry_Nelson Thank you for all the support and well wishes. The Ryder Cup Captaincy is a great honor and I thank you for keeping me in the conversation.

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