|Roberts claims season title - $1 million - 10/28/07|
SONOMA -- It's not every day you can finish 13th in a golf tournament, or in any tournament for that matter, and win a million dollars. Then again, such is the nature of the season-long Charles Schwab Cup. Loren Roberts was rewarded Sunday for a body of work, not for a single brush stroke.
Jim Thorpe had the single brush stroke as it were. He won the Cup Championship with a 20-under par 268, posting a 66 Sunday and tying the Cup Championship record for the lowest round. It was his first and only victory on the 2007 Champions Tour. And it wasn't a box of rubber bands Thorpe won either. He won $442,000 for four days' work. But the real payday was Roberts'.
"That's what it boils down to," Roberts said. "It boils down to playing for a million dollars on one day. That is what is so exciting about the Schwab Cup. Invariably it comes down to this last week and, you know, comes down to the last day."
Roberts shot a 67 Sunday and 277 for the tournament at the Sonoma Golf Club.
Only two men could have prevented Roberts from this pay day. Roberts was the Cup leader coming into this week, with Jay Haas second and Brad Bryant third.
Haas would win if he finished ninth or better and Roberts didn't make it to the top 10. No Schwab Cup points are awarded for a finish lower than 10th. Haas shot a 73, finished tied for 20th at 282, 20 strokes behind Thorpe and five behind Roberts.
Bryant could have won the Cup title if he had won the tournament and Roberts finished lower than 10th. Bryant was among the leaders for the most of the tournament, was only one stroke off the lead starting Sunday but ballooned to a 73 and ended up in a tie for 10th at 275. He bogeyed three of the last five holes.
So all Roberts needed to do was post a semi-decent round, not blow up and shoot in the 80s and the cool million was his. Of course, Roberts wasn't playing just the course here. He was playing with the money, not spending it before he had it, but rather thinking about it. Such a thing can be the biggest distraction to a golfer on game day.
"Something's wrong with you if you say that you don't think about it," Roberts said, "because you obviously do. You're thinking about it in the back of your mind and I was very fortunate that I was able to focus on my golf game today and get off to a really good start."
Roberts started with four consecutive birdies and had a 31 on the front nine.
The way Roberts saw it, he won a war of attrition.
"I feel bad for Jay and Brad," Roberts said. "I know Brad was right there and I know he was very unhappy with the way he finished the golf tournament. And Jay didn't have that good of a day either. So I think we kind of walked across the finish line."
Roberts finished the season with 2,716 points, 165 in front of Haas, last year's champion. Roberts also finished with the lowest scoring average on the Champions Tour, averaging 69.31 a round.
Roberts bowed graciously in Thorpe's direction as the man's mastery of this tournament. This is Thorpe's third Cup Championship victory at Sonoma Golf Club.
"We were talking on the 18th green," Roberts said, "and Jim said, 'I've been struggling with my putter all year. But I get on these greens, I just hit it at the hole and they go in.' He played awesome. If there's horses for courses, this is his."
Thorpe won the Cup Championship in 2003, also posting a 268. He also won the Cup Championship last year.
The PGA estimated a crowd of 40,000 attended the four-day Cup Championship, an increase of 5,000 from 2006.