June 25, 2012
Vartan Kupelian, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
Editor's note: Vartan Kupelian is the Champions Tour Insider and a PGATOUR.COM Contributor. Each week, Kupelian will size up the field and provide his top 5 players going into the tournament, based on factors such as the player's strengths, the course setup, recent performances, etc.
Fred Couples claimed his first Champions Tour major title last year at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
Couples' bid to become only the second repeat champion in the tournament's history this week moves to Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh. Only Arnold Palmer, in 1984 and 1985, has won the SENIOR PLAYERS Championship in back-to-back years.
In one of the Champions Tour's best and most exciting finishes of 2011, Couples won the title in a playoff over John Cook at Westchester Country Club. Couples won with a closing even-par 71 for an 11-under total. He birdied the third playoff hole for the victory. Cook shot a final round 70.
Couples joined Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd as the only players to win THE PLAYERS Championship on the PGA TOUR and the SENIOR PLAYERS.
Fox Chapel is a Seth Raynor design which opened in 1923.
|Power Rankings: SENIOR PLAYERS Championship|
|Rank ||Player || ||Comment|
| || ||Fred |
|The defending champion has four top-10 finishes in six starts this year, and narrowly missed in the other two an 11th in Hawaii and T12 at Senior PGA Championship. He's No. 2 in Driving Distance (293.5 yards) and No. 3 in both Scoring Average (69.12) and Greens in Regulation (73.86 percent).|
| || ||Michael |
|Finished T5 in Montreal to earn 79 points and return to the top of the Charles Schwab Cup points race. His 1,120 total is 5 more than Bernhard Langer. Another top-10 finish demonstrates that Allen, a two-time winner this year, continues to be a threat every time he tees it up.|
| || ||Mark |
|The timing of his second Champions Tour victory last week sets him up for the three major championships coming up in short order, beginning at Fox Chapel. His 8-under-par 64 Sunday gave him a convincing 4-shot win in Montreal and tied the competitive course record at the La Vallee du Richelieu GC Vercheres Course.|
| || ||Tom |
|Already has one major title to his credit this year, the Regions Tradition. He's No. 1 in both Total Driving and Greens in Regulation (78.16 percent). That kind of ball-striking will be key at Fox Chapel. Plus, he's No. 4 in the All-Around category. No. 3 in the Charles Schwab Cup points list.|
| || ||Russ |
|His game appears to be rounding into shape. After an inconsistent start, he seems to be hitting his stride with his two best finishes of 2012, a T5 at the Regions Tradition and a T3 at the Montreal Championship. Look out if his putter heats up.|
Here are this week's Power Rankings for the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship: