Notes: Funk looking for Texas two-step at AT&TOctober 22, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
The Champions Tour heads to San Antonio, Texas for the final full-field event of the season -- the AT&T Championship at TPC San Antonio (AT&T Canyons Course) on October 22-28. The purse for this event is $1.85 million and the winner will receive $277,500 and 278 Charles Schwab Cup points. Last year, Fred Couples set a new tournament 54-hole scoring record of 23-under 193 for a seven-stroke win over Mark Calcavecchia.
• Ben Bates, the Web.com Tour's all-time cuts-made leader, was medalist at the Florida site of the Champions Tour Regional Qualifying Tournament where 17 players advanced to the finals at TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs, Fla. next month. Jeff Brehaut, who has made more than 500 combined starts on the PGA TOUR and the Web.com Tour, headed the field by six strokes at the California site where 14 players advanced. A third Regional Qualifying event will be held in Texas on Oct. 30 - Nov. 2.
• The Champions Tour team for the 21st Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge will be Fred Funk, Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman. The unique event, which raises money for adoption and also features teams from the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour, will be held at Rio Secco GC in Las Vegas, Nev. on November 13 and will air on Golf Channel on December 10 at 8pm ET.
• The recent Umpqua Bank Challenge, hosted by Champions Tour professional Peter Jacobsen, raised $100,000 for non-profit partners "I Have a Dream" Foundation/Oregon and Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel, both based in Portland, Ore. The event was won by Champions Tour professional Jay Haas and his son, Bill, the 2011 FedExCup winner on the PGA TOUR.
• Champions Tour caddie Scott Steele died at Frye's Medical Center in Hickory, N.C. last week after suffering a heart attack during the previous week's Greater Hickory Classic where he was caddying for Kirk Triplett. Steele, 55, was on the bag of Larry Mize when he won the 1987 Masters at Augusta National.
• Fred Couples, the defending champion at this week's AT&T Championship, is unable to defend his title due to injury. He is the third player this year unable to defend a Champions Tour title due to injury (Tom Watson/Senior PGA, Russ Cochran/Senior British Open).
• Fred Funk comes into this year's AT&T Championship fresh off his second win of the 2012 season at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. Funk won the Insperity Championship in Houston earlier this year. Should Funk win this week in San Antonio, he would become the first player to claim Champions Tour events in both major cities in Texas in the same year.
• The top-30 players on the money list following the AT&T Championship will earn a spot in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. The margin between Mark McNulty (30th) and Tom Kite (31st) on the money list heading into the AT&T Championship is $32,506. A solo-15th finish in San Antonio is worth $33,300 while last-place money is $758.50 -- a difference of $32,541.50.
• As the final event prior to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the AT&T Championship has seen players bumped out of the top 30 and others earn a berth in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. One of the big changes came in 2009 when Phil Blackmar made a huge jump with his win, moving from 57th to the 30th and final spot. There have been no changes the past two years.
• When Bob Gilder tees off in the third round of this week's AT&T Championship it will mark his 1,000th round on the Champions Tour. Jim Colbert has the most rounds played (1,533 rounds through 2012 Greater Hickory Classic) of active Champions Tour players. Larry Nelson (984) and Tom Kite (960) are active players who are also closing in on 1,000 career rounds.
• Thirty local charitable groups will take part in a unique ticket distribution program at this week's AT&T Championship. Each of the participating groups will receive 1,500 one-day passes to distribute to the San Antonio public. Participating groups will have their own coded tickets and each ticket redeemed Friday through Sunday will count as one point toward the respective group's total. At the end of the tournament, the group accumulating the most points will earn a $15,000 donation for their designated charity.
CHARLES SCHWAB CUP
• With 1,158 Charles Schwab Cup points available to the winner in the two remaining events in 2012, it is mathematically possible for eight players to claim the Charles Schwab Cup heading into the penultimate event. At the same stage last year 10 players had a chance. At this point in 2010, only two players, Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer, could possibly win the Schwab Cup. In 2009, the number was five and in 2008 it was seven.
• This is the closest Charles Schwab Cup race since 2008 when Fred Funk led Bernhard Langer by just 84 points with two events remaining. That year, Jay Haas eventually overtook both Funk and Langer to win by 12 points. With just two events remaining in the season, here is where the top-three players stand in the 2012 Charles Schwab Cup race compared to the previous two years:
2012 2011 2010 Bernhard Langer -- 2,250 points Tom Lehman -- 2,219 points Bernhard Langer -- 3,160 points Tom Lehman -- 2,139 (-111) Mark Calcavecchia -- 1,798 (-421) Fred Couples -- 2,625 (-535) Roger Chapman -- 1,756 (-494) Peter Senior -- 1,696 (-523) Russ Cochran -- 1,590 (-1,570)
125,751 -- The number of dollars Bernhard Langer needs to win to surpass $20 million in all-time career earnings on the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour combined. Langer requires a solo third-place finish at this week's AT&T Championship to achieve this milestone.
DID YOU KNOW??
The AT&T Championship holds the distinction of being the longest-played event in one metropolitan area on the Champions Tour. This year's stop in San Antonio will be the 28th consecutive in the Alamo City. The ACE Group Classic is second in longevity with a run of 25 years in Naples, Fla.
ON THIS DATE
10/23/88 -- Andrew Magee wins the first of four PGA TOUR titles when he comes from four strokes back in the final round to claim the Pensacola Open
10/25/87 -- Ten years after joining the PGA TOUR, Mike Reid breaks through for his first career win, claiming the Seiko Tucson Open.
10/27/02 -- Hale Irwin finishes fourth at the Senior Tour Championship at Gaillardia but wins $176,000 to become the first Champions Tour player to eclipse $3 million in one season.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I just turned 50. When you get older, you miss the locker-room, miss going out to compete. As good as I think I am, I'm not half as good as these guys on their worst day." -- Former NFL star Mark Rypien explains why he contested the first stage of the Champions Tour Qualifying Tournament last week. Although he improved his score in each round, he failed to advance to the final stage.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Brad Faxon ?@BradFaxon: Did anyone just feel an earthquake. My wife and kids swear the lights were moving !