Perry named Player of the Year after winning back-to-back major titlesKenny Perry was clearly the best player on Tour in 2013 and won the Player of the Year.December 04, 2013
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The Champions Tour today announced Kenny Perry as Champions Tour Player of the Year. Perry, from Franklin, Ky., receives the Jack Nicklaus Award after recording three victories this year; back-to-back major titles at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship and the U.S. Senior Open Championship, as well as the AT&T Championship late in the season. Perry also claimed the season-long Charles Schwab Cup which recognizes the Champions Tour’s most consistent player.
Perry’s $2,241,188 in official earnings secured the No. 2 position on the final money list behind Bernhard Langer, who earned $2,448,428. They were the only players to surpass $2 million in official earnings in 2013.
"I'm thrilled to be the Champions Tour Player of the Year,” said Perry, who won the vote over seven other nominees, Michael Allen, Russ Cochran, David Frost, Bernhard Langer, Rocco Mediate, Esteban Toledo and Mark Wiebe, all multiple winners in 2013. “I figured I had a pretty good shot at it but Bernhard had a heck of a year too and you never know until the votes are counted. The fact that this award comes from a vote by my peers is a real honor and I am very proud to receive it. This is an excellent reward for all the work I put in this season and I look forward to many more great years on the Champions Tour."
“Kenny had an incredible year,” said Champions Tour President Mike Stevens. “To win any major championship requires terrific skill but to win consecutive major titles, particularly with the fantastic scores he shot in Pittsburgh and Omaha, is an amazing feat. And I can think of no better way to cap off a terrific season than to capture the Charles Schwab Cup. Kenny gives back to the Champions Tour in so many ways and is a huge asset to our tournaments, so it’s fitting that he’s received this unique recognition from his fellow players.”Perry wins Schwab Cup
Perry first took the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup standings midway through the season when he won the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship at Fox Chapel. The following week, he won a second consecutive major championship, the U.S. Senior Open, where he claimed an additional 1,000 points to enhance his lead in the Schwab Cup standings, a lead he never relinquished. Following his playoff win over Langer at the AT&T Championship at TPC San Antonio, Perry headed into the season-finale at TPC Harding Park with a 612-point lead over Langer and claimed the Cup when Langer failed to win in San Francisco. Perry, who joined the Champions Tour in 2010, earned the Charles Schwab Cup with 3,273 points, 412 points ahead of Langer.
In 20 starts, Perry won three times and recorded 12 top-10 finishes. His win at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS featured three scintillating rounds of 63-63-64, following an opening 71, to win his first major title by two strokes over Fred Couples and Duffy Waldorf. The very next week Perry posted 64-63 on the weekend to claim the U.S. Senior Open by five shots over Fred Funk at the Omaha Country Club. His playoff win over Langer at the AT&T Championship late in the season made him the only player to win three events in the year. Perry made two cuts in three starts on the PGA TOUR in 2013. He posted 46 of 62 rounds under par during the 2013 Champions Tour season. He also ranked among the top five in seven Champions Tour statistical categories, a testament to his consistent play during the year.
Bernhard Langer won the Arnold Palmer Award as the Champions Tour’s leading money winner for a record fifth time. Langer also won the award in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. The Boca Raton, Fla. resident surpassed $2 million during the season for the fifth time in his Champions Tour career, earning $2,448,428 in 24 starts in 2013. He posted 18 top-10 finishes, including victories at the ACE Group Classic and the Greater Gwinnett Championship.
Rocco Mediate was named the Champions Tour Rookie of the Year. Mediate, who hails from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, turned 50 on December 17, 2012 and made his Champions Tour debut at the Allianz Championship early in 2013. It was a dream debut for the popular PGA TOUR veteran, shooting a tournament-record 61 in the second round and eventually forging a two-stroke win over Bernhard Langer and Tom Pernice, Jr. Mediate became the 16th player in Champions Tour history to win on his debut. He followed his great start with three consecutive top-six finishes and recorded a tie for third at the U.S. Senior Open in the middle of the season. Later in the year, Mediate won again at the inaugural Shaw Charity Classic, matching the lowest 54-hole score (22-under 191) in Champions Tour history and winning by seven strokes, the largest margin of victory in 2013. In 23 starts, he finished 9th on the Charles Schwab Cup standings and No. 10 on the money list with $1,341,098. Other nominees for the Rookie of the Year were Bart Bryant, Kohki Idoki, John Riegger, Esteban Toledo and Duffy Waldorf.
“It’s really cool to win this award because you only get one go at it – you’re only a rookie once,” said Mediate. “Esteban had a great year and so did Duffy. It was a close race and I think the final event may have helped me get over the line. I’m really proud to be Rookie of the Year knowing the vote comes from the players on the Champions Tour. That makes it very special.”
Fred Couples claimed the Byron Nelson Award as the Champions Tour scoring leader. With a 68.64 scoring average for the year, Couples, a Seattle, Wash. native, captured his only victory of the year at the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a dominating six-stroke win over Bernhard Langer, Mark O’Meara and Peter Senior. In 15 starts, Couples was runner-up four times and posted ten top-10 finishes. His low round of the year occurred at Fox Chapel GC when he shot 62 in the second round of the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. Seven of his 47 rounds in 2013 were over par. Couples also captured this award in 2010 with an all-time record 67.96 scoring average and in 2012 with a 68.52 average.