PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Schwab Cup race remains tight as ever
Montgomerie, Maggert tied atop the standings with just four events remaining
September 29, 2015
By Vartan Kupelian , PGATOUR.COM
- September 29, 2015
- Colin Montgomerie can't afford many mistakes as the season-long race for the Schwab Cup continues. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
It is fitting that in a season when the Charles Schwab Cup race has been so tight from the beginning that with four events remaining there’s a dead heat at the top.
Given the nature of the point system and bonus points for the majors, it’s really quite extraordinary to have two players – Jeff Maggert and Colin Montgomerie – tied at the top. A third golfer – Bernhard Langer – is in contention to win the Charles Schwab Cup for the second straight year.
It’s a remarkable circumstance because Maggert and Montgomerie got to the top in decidedly different ways. Maggert has won four times, including two major championships. Montgomerie has won only once but has displayed a striking level of consistency.
In marked contrast to a year ago when the top two spots were wrapped up before the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, this year’s tournament, Nov. 5-8 at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, will most likely determine the outcome.
With his T3 finish last week at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, Montgomerie gained a share of the lead with Maggert, who did not register a point.
Each has 2,992 points. Never before have two players been tied on points at the top with four or fewer tournaments remaining.
Langer has 2,604 points. He played in his native Germany last week at the Porsche European Open. Langer opened with 66 and eventually finished T24.
Next in the points standings, but far off the pace, are Marco Dawson (1,332), Esteban Toledo (1,127), Billy Andrade (1,071) and Kevin Sutherland (1,070). Toledo won the Nature Valley First Tee Open.
Dawson trails the leaders by 1,660 points. The winner of The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex still has a mathematical chance to win the Charles Schwab Cup but at very long odds. He needs to win the final four events (for 1,735 points). Dawson’s fleeting chances also are dependent on Maggert and Montgomerie finishing near the bottom in the final event.
In 2004, Hale Irwin led Craig Stadler by one point with two events remaining. Irwin won the Charles Schwab Cup by finishing top 10 in each of the last six events, including a runner-up at the Constellation Energy Classic and a T7 at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
The remaining events on the 2015 schedule are SAS Championship, Oct. 9-11; San Antonio Championship, Oct. 16-18; Toshiba Classic, Oct. 30-Nov. 1; and the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Here’s a look back at how the three point leaders have arrived at this point in the Champions Tour season:
• Wins: 4 (Regions Tradition, U.S. Senior Open, Shaw Charity Classic, Dick’s Sporting Goods Open)
• Scoring Average: 69.63 (3rd)
• Money List: $2,111,136 (1st)
Notes and a quote: Winningest player on the Champions Tour this year, his first victory came in a major at the Regions Tradition. Has won three of his last seven starts ... He’s No. 2 in the Ball Striking, Total Driving and Birdie Average stats and No. 9 in Putting Average ... Maggert says: “It's satisfying just because the guys out here on the Champions Tour are the same guys that I was trying to beat 20 years ago, and they're great players … These guys are playing just as well as they were 20 years ago. Their iron play and their short game and their putting, they're just all fantastic players still.”
• Wins: 1 (Senior PGA Championship)
• Scoring Average: 69.13 (2nd)
• Money List: $1,894,599 (2nd)
Notes and a quote: Only one victory but his recent performances certainly suggest he’s poised for a run at the Charles Schwab Cup. He has finished first, second or third in his last six starts on the Champions Tour. For the season, Montgomerie has 11 top 10 finishes in 15 starts ... Montgomerie tied for fourth at Desert Mountain last year, finishing with rounds of 67-66 ... Montgomerie says: “I haven't actually practiced that much throughout my career. A little bit more than people think, but not as much as some. And I think physically, I'm very flexible as well. Now, you put these two together, and really, being 52, I'm really sort of 45 in golfing terms. You see the guys beating balls day after day, and the injuries appear. I'll touch wood here. I've been very, very fortunate that I've never really missed a day's work through illness or injury over a 30-year cycle.”
• Wins: 1 (Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS)
• Scoring Average: 68.98 (1st)
• Money List: $1,657,315 (3rd)
Notes and a quote: After a terrific 2014 season, Langer got off to a relatively – for him – slow start. His first victory came in June at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS. It was his 24th on the Champions Tour, and second straight SENIOR PLAYERS title ... In a five-tournament late-season stretch beginning at the SENIOR PLAYERS, he finished top three in five straight tournaments, including three straight runner-up finishes ... Langer says: “I think I always try hard, that's just my nature. I want to do and give the best that I have no matter what I do, especially in golf, but even if you play ping pong with me I'm going to play as hard as I can. Whatever I do, I want to do it well. But in golf, we put so much into it.”