CHARLES SCHWAB CUP
Nine things to know heading into 2019 Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs
October 17, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Bernhard Langer won the 2018 Charles Schwab Cup. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
After 24 events across the United States and even into Asia, the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs begins this week on PGA TOUR Champions.
The first of three events happens this week in Richmond, Virginia and there is no shortage of storylines to come over the next few weeks.
Here are nine things you need to know as the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs get underway.
The Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs begin this week at The Country Club of Virginia with the Dominion Energy Charity Classic. Woody Austin defends after notching his first PGA TOUR Champions victory since his three-win season in 2016.
Up next is the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, California where Scott Parel defends at Sherwood Country Club. Parel won twice last year, including his playoff victory. This year he’s lost in two playoffs – amazingly both losses came at the hand of Kevin Sutherland.
The three-tournament playoff series wraps up with the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at the Phoenix Country Club in Arizona. Last year it was Vijay Singh who captured the title after a sizzling final-round 61. It was his third victory of 2018.
HOW IT WORKS
The Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs works comparably to the FedExCup Playoffs on the PGA TOUR, as each field will be reduced the closer we get to the season finale.
Forty-four players have qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs all four years since the Playoffs began in 2016.
This week in Virginia will feature 67 of the eligible 72 golfers. The field gets cut to 54 for the Invesco QQQ Championship and the finale in Arizona will feature just 36.
At the start of the Playoffs a player’s regular-season money total will be transferred into points. During the three Playoff events, each dollar earned is actually worth two points, constantly added to the player’s regular-season point total.
The player with the most points at the conclusion of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship will win the Charles Schwab Cup.
LANGER LONGING FOR NO. 6
What more can you say about Bernard Langer and his performance over the last decade or so? Even at 62, there is no slowing him down.
In fact, since 2010 there has been only one year (2011) when Langer wasn’t either the Charles Schwab Cup winner or runner-up.
This year Langer looks to win his record sixth Charles Schwab Cup title.
Last year, despite a valiant effort by Vijay Singh, Langer won his fourth Charles Schwab Cup in five years.
He’ll have some work to do in 2019, however, as he enters the Playoffs seventh in the standings despite two wins. Langer did win the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in 2017 and was runner-up last year.
Despite a long run through the calendar year, some golfers on PGA TOUR Champions are doing their best during the ladder part of the season.
Here’s who to look out for this week and through the playoffs –
· Scott McCarron
o Has led the CSC points race for 18 consecutive weeks and has PGA TOUR Champions-best 14 top-10’s this season
· Jerry Kelly
o No one has played better than Jerry Kelly over the last three months or so, as he’s notched three wins on the season – including last week at the SAS Championship – and they’ve all come in the last 11 tournaments.
· Woody Austin
o Can’t look past the defending champion. Austin has top-15 results in each of his last five starts, was T3 last week at the SAS Championship after sharing the 36-hole lead, and he and Vijay Singh were the only plays to post top-10’s in each of the three Playoffs events in 2018.
Sometimes guys just peak at the right time and that’s no different on PGA TOUR Champions.
Since the Playoffs began three seasons ago, there have been just three golfers to post top-10’s in at least half the Playoffs events.
No surprise to see Bernhard Langer in this group (six top-10’s) but Scott McCarron – the leader of the CSC points list heading into this week – is tied with Langer with six top-10’s in nine events. Rounding out the list of serious Playoff performers includes the 2016 Charles Schwab Cup Championship winner Paul Goydos, who has five top-10’s since 2016.
TOP FIVE FELLAS
While Scott McCarron has led the CSC Points list for the last 18 weeks – and Jerry Kelly is nipping at his heels – there are three other golfers in the top-5 who are looking to have some solid Playoffs and perhaps take the title away.
McCarron finished runner-up to Bernard Langer a year ago and wants to etch his name on that trophy for the first time in 2019, but he’ll have to hold off some serious competition from –
· Kirk Triplett (No. 3)
o Triplett has two wins on PGA TOUR Champions this year and three runner-up results. His best Charles Schwab Cup finish is 6th in 2014.
· Davis Toms (No. 5)
o Toms hasn’t won on PGA TOUR Champions in 2019 but has three runner-ups and five other top-10 results. He also leads the Tour in Birdie Average and if he can keep that up, watch out.
· Retief Goosen (No.6)
o The 2019 Rookie has made a big splash already, capturing the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship in July. He’s also notched nine top-10’s and is less than 30,000 points behind Toms at No. 5
Steve Stricker is at No. 4 but is not in the field this week in Virginia.
FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME
There are 10 golfers amongst the 67 in the field who are playing the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs for the first time including Retief Goosen (the highest-ranked golfer in the CSC Points List), Ken Duke, Doug Barron (who won the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open after Monday Qualifying), Darren Clarke, Chris DiMarco, Stephen Leaney, Gibby Gilbert III, John Huston, Steve Jones, and Cliff Kresge.
It’s been quite the year for Goosen who joined PGA TOUR Champions in February once he turned 50. Four months later he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, and two months after that he won the SENIOR PLAYERS, a senior major championship.
SCOTT MCCARRON VERSUS JERRY KELLY
While anything can happen in golf – and it usually does – Scott McCarron and Jerry Kelly have shown all season why they’ve been at the top of their games.
With the Playoffs around the corner, here’s a tale of the tape between the top golfers from 2019 on the Charles Schwab Cup Points List --
For some golfers teeing it up in Virginia, there won’t be a next week.
Only the top-54 golfers in the Charles Schwab Cup Points standings will qualify for the Invesco QQQ Championship – the second of three legs of these Playoffs.
Stephen Leaney is the man on the bubble heading into this week. He trails John Daly (No. 53) by just 571 points, while Bart Bryant (No. 55) is behind by just over 35,000 points.
Willie Wood (No. 56) is 1,000 more points behind while Jesper Parnevik is at No. 57 (54,100 points back of No. 54).
Last year Fran Quinn advanced from outside the magic number to the second Playoffs event via a top-10 finish at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic – for the second year in a row.