December 14 2011
Never before had a player won such honors on all three Tours operated by the PGA TOUR. Lehman, who won the award on the then-Hogan Tour (now Nationwide Tour) in 1991 and the PGA TOUR in 1996, knew he was fortunate to be in such a position by age as much as accomplishment. No other former Hogan/Nationwide Tour Player of the Year is toiling regularly on the 50-and-over circuit.
But Wednesday, upon officially being named Champions Tour Player of the Year, thus completing the triple play, Lehman could fully appreciate the accomplishment and come clean a little bit about just how much he wanted it.
“I think it's every bit as significant simply because it's a goal that I set,” Lehman said. “I think anytime you set a goal that's a lofty goal, and this one was lofty because no one had done it before. I was aware of that.
“Because of that reason, it's significant. It's the culmination of a journey. It's a journey that's been a lot of fun. There's no guarantees. There were no promises that I could achieve that. It took a lot of good playing and also some good fortune for me to win.”
Lehman was strong all year on the Champions Tour, having won three times including a major title. He took over the Schwab Cup points lead after the season’s second event and never looked back, though the points race did tighten up at the season finale as Mark Calcavecchia bid to win the Charles Schwab Cup Championship and take the $1 million season prize. Calc came up short, and Lehman had the Schwab Cup.
“There's a lot of things happened this past year that went in my favor. John Cook lost in two playoffs. Calc almost came back and won the Schwab Cup,” Lehman said. “Those guys had great years, played great golf, but things kind of tipped my way.
“When you work so hard and you want it so badly, you chase that dream, then the dream does come true, it's significant. I was very, very aware over the last couple years I had a chance to do something that no one's done before, at least to this point.”