Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus are partners in this week's Champions Tour event in Savannah, Ga. (Squire/Getty Images)
|Click here for latest scores from the Demaret Division at Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf|
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Jack Nicklaus made 594 starts on the PGA TOUR during his illustrious career, and another 84 starts in Champions Tour events. He seemingly has played in every golfing community in America ... except for Savannah, Ga.
This week, he gets to cross that city off the list, as he teams up with another legend, Gary Player, to participate in the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf.
Nicklaus and Player are paired in the Demaret Division two-man team competition that takes place Monday and Tuesday at the Club at Savannah Harbor.
"I have no history of playing in Savannah, and I have no expectations," Nicklaus said during Masters week, prior to joining Player and Arnold Palmer for the ceremonial opening tee shot.
Player is usually paired with Bob Charles, but last year Charles couldn't make it. So Player partnered with Simon Hobday. When Nicklaus heard about the switch, he told Player, "I wish you'd asked me. ... I would love to play with you."
Player replied, "Well, you'll play next year."
As he finished recalling the story, Nicklaus added with a laugh, "I should have kept my mouth shut."
That's because Nicklaus hadn't played golf in a month and said that he's "not taking a golf tournament serious. I don't play golf anymore. I play occasionally if I have to."
But he added, "Gary and I will have a good time. We'll have fun."
Player has a different outlook. He's focused on winning.
Player and Charles won the Demaret Division twice; last year, he and Hobday finished fifth, six strokes behind winners Gibby Gilbert and J.C. Snead.
"I'm very happy to play with Jack," Player said. "Obviously we've gone up together and have a lot of respect for each other, but I'm not doing it for fun. I want to win."
MONDAY TEE TIMES - Demaret Division
|11 a.m. ET||Gibby Gilbert/J.C. Snead||Jim Albus/Jim Dent|
|11:10 a.m. ET||Jack Nicklaus/Gary Player||Mike Hill/Lee Trevino|
|11:20 a.m. ET||Bruce Devlin/Larry Mowry||Charles Coody/Dale Douglass|
|11:30 a.m. ET||Butch Baird/Larry Laoretti||Don Bies/Tom Shaw|
|11:40 a.m. ET||Jim Colbert/Bob Murphy||Al Geiberger/Jimmy Powell|
|11:50 a.m. ET||Frank Beard/Larry Ziegler||Don January/Gene Littler|
|Noon ET||Miller Barber/Jim Ferree||Homero Blancas/Bobby Nichols|
|12:10 p.m. ET||Tommy Aaron/Lou Graham||Tommy Jacobs/Johnny Pott|
|12:20 p.m. ET||Dow Finsterwald/Bob Goalby||Jack Fleck/Bob Toski|
|12:30 p.m. ET||Doug Ford/Billy Maxwell||Billy Casper/Ken Still|
|12:40 p.m. ET||Lee Elder/Doug Sanders||Fred Hawkins/Howie Johnson|
David Frost is the only player with five top-10 finishes in the first five Champions Tour starts in 2013, including a win at the Toshiba Classic.
The second-ranked player in Charles Schwab Cup Points added another feat to his 2013 resume, as he became the first Champions Tour player to interact live on a video chat with fans through a Google+ Hangout.
Frost hit on a variety of topics, from his favorite wines being made by other pros to the memorable time he spent on the range with Ben Hogan. Check it out below.
Champions Tour rookie Steve Elkington, like many Australians, sweated out Adam Scott's win.
(Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
By Mark Williams, Champions Tour staff
Champions Tour rookie Steve Elkington broke out one Australian icon to celebrate another following Adam Scott’s playoff victory over Argentina's Angel Cabrera at the Masters Tournament. Scott became the first Australian to win at Augusta National, which will surely elevate him to iconic status in his native land. After all, it’s not often the conclusion of a sporting event stops an entire nation, including its leader, Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
“I opened a bottle of 1986 Grange Hermitage, one of the best bottles of all time,” said Elkington, himself a major champion at the 1995 PGA Championship. “I’d been saving it up for a special occasion.”
Asked if he shared it with anyone, Elkington said, “No. Just me, with a big steak. It’s a big shiraz red, one of the most famous bottles from Australia. Very sought after. It would be one of the great wines of the world.”
However, the result was in doubt until the playoff ended and it had Elkington on the edge of his seat before he could open the wine and savor it.
“Cabrera’s shot on 18, that to me was one of the greatest shots I’ve ever seen, and all of a sudden it looked like we (Australian’s) might not have the Masters,” Elkington said. “That drama, and Jim Nantz making it clear on the CBS coverage how strongly Australian’s thought about the elusive victory at Augusta National, and Adam referring to Greg (Norman) as a pioneer – it was all great.”
“I’ve known Adam for a long time and I didn’t think he would be able to come back from last year to be honest,” added Elkington, referring to Scott’s meltdown over the final four holes to lose the 2012 British Open to Ernie Els. “They say the average age of major winner is 32. Adam is 32. I was 32 when I won my major.”
According to Elkington the final piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle is now complete.
“An Australian hadn’t won the Masters, it was the only major missing for us, but Adam’s win almost completes a bigger ‘Slam.' Australians have won almost every event on almost every Tour – the World Cup, World Amateur Championship, the LPGA majors. It’s an incredible achievement for a small country.”
Elkington called his parents who live on the Gold Coast in Australia, not far from where Scott hails, to celebrate over the phone, but his Dad had already headed down to the local golf club to celebrate with friends, something most of Australia’s 22 million inhabitants likely did as well.
Check out the shots of the week from the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank and the Toshiba Classic, featuring Luke Donald, Mark O'Meara, Dicky Pride, Kevin Streelman and Webb Simpson.
By Ann Miller, for PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU -- Hawaii is home to the start of the Champions Tour as well and next week 40 seniors will tee it up in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, on the Big Island.
Two will have a head start.
Russ Cochran qualified for this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii, shooting 67 in 40-mph gusts at Turtle Bay Monday. An 8-foot eagle putt on his final hole Friday gave him a second straight 68 and leaves him at 4-under 136 going into the weekend.
Fred Funk, who won Mitsubishi in 2008, was on the bubble Friday afternoon after an opening round 70. He was fourth on the Champions money list last year after winning two events.
Bart Bryant, who just turned 50 and will make his Champions debut later this year, is also playing at Waialae Country Club this week. After shooting 67 Friday he goes into the weekend a shot ahead of Cochran.
Cochran came to Hawaii to visit a friend on Kauai and made a last-minute decision to try the qualifier. While “missing my own vacation,” he made the turn in 4 under Thursday, but admits to backing off a bit since.
“It’s a big deal for me to make the cut,” said Cochran, who has won three senior titles since turning 50. “If you make the cut you go on a list and the tournaments that don’t fill up like Puerto Rico you have a chance to get in. It’s a nice thing, but it made me play very tentatively.
“At the same time, it kept me hitting the ball to the right side of the hole and I got the ball in the hole well. I didn’t play particularly well yesterday or most of today, but I hung in there.”
Two years ago he opened with a career-best, 10-under-par 62 at Hualalai. After this week, he should be ready to go low again.
“I know if nothing else standing over these putts and getting the feel of walking the course and hitting shots and working it in the wind is a big deal,” Cochran said.
Cochran’s son Ryan, who played at Florida, is on his bag this week. His youngest son Case is now at Texas A&M. Dad keeps seeing familiar faces at
Waialae this week, while he works on coming back from an injury-interrupted 2012.
“The odd thing about this is two or three of the guys out here this week are guys my sons played with,” Cochran said. “There are lot of guys out here I saw playing junior golf. It’s really interesting, really fun to see the progress.”
Winners from the last two years are eligible for Mitsubishi, along with major champions from the past five years and eight exemptions.
Those exemptions went to Ben Crenshaw, Steve Elkington, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Larry Nelson, Craig Stadler, Cutis Strange and Jim Thorpe.
Along with Funk and Cochran, other qualifiers include 2012 Player of the Year Tom Lehman, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson, Fred Couples, who led the Champions Tour in scoring average, Bernhard Langer, who led the money list, and defending champion Dan Forsman.
Mitsubishi starts the 2013 Champions Tour season next Friday.
Most weeks, Damon Green is caddying for Zach Johnson on the PGA TOUR. This week, he’s on the other end of the bag in the final stage of Champions Tour q-school at TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs, Fla.
Through the first of four rounds, Green shares the lead at 4 under with Bobby Clampett after each shot 68 on Tuesday.
Green played in two Champions Tour events this season, finishing 73rd in the Principal Charity Classic and tying for 17th in the U.S. Senior Open.
Clampett, meanwhile, had 20 starts on the over-50 circuit with four top 10s, including a tie for fourth in the Insperity Championship presented by United Healthcare in what was his best finish of the year. He finished the year 39th in the Schwab Cup standings.
Esteban Toledo and Neal Lancaster are a shot back, while Lance Ten Broeck is among a group of 10 players tied for fifth at 2 under.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – In his home game, Tom Lehman claimed all the hardware at the Champions Tour’s season finale.
Lehman won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship by a whopping six shots at Desert Mountain’s Cochise Course with a final-round 5-under 65, in the process leapfrogging Bernhard Langer to win the Charles Schwab Cup. He’s the first player to win the season-long race two years in a row.
Langer finished sixth.
Lehman started the final round ahead by one over Fred Couples, then birdied the second and third holes to establish a cushion that was never threatened. He won for the second time on the year, having won the Regions Tradition during the summer.
In winning the Schwab Cup, Lehman will likely win Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Last year when he won POY, he became the first win the award on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour.
Langer, Fred Funk and Loren Roberts were among the players at the 18th green congratulating Lehman on his great week.
Tom Watson was the only other player to win the season finale while also winning the Schwab Cup, in 2005.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Tom Lehman hasn’t made a bogey since the first round at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. If that streak continues, he’s going to take it all at Desert Mountain.
Lehman is 2 under on his final round through the front nine and leads by four over Fred Couples and Jay Haas. If he wins the event, he’ll leapfrog Bernhard Langer and win the Schwab Cup for the second consecutive year. No one has ever won the Cup in back-to-back years.
Bernhard Langer is having one of the best rounds on the course, 4 under through 13 holes, but as long as Lehman leads the event, there’s nothing he can do to protect the top spot in points that he owned coming to Desert Mountain. He’s currently in solo sixth place.