10 stories to remember: 2022 PGA TOUR Champions
November 21, 2022
By Connor Stange , PGATOUR.COM
- November 21, 2022
- Steven Alker took the season-long Charles Schwab Cup title in 2022. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)
The PGA TOUR Champions never fails to deliver a variety of memorable moments, as golf legends continue to scratch their competitive itch and go toe-to-toe in rivalries that have been fostered across decades. The 2022 season was no exception.
After breaking onto the scene as a Monday qualifier in 2021, longtime grinder Steven Alker took the season-long Charles Schwab Cup title in 2022, narrowly edging three-time major champion Padraig Harrington. Bernhard Langer set the record for oldest winner in PGA TOUR Champions history, then broke his own record. Not only did Steve Stricker rebound from a severe illness, he went on a run of wins.
Here are 10 stories to remember from the 2022 PGA TOUR Champions season.
1. Alker wins Charles Schwab Cup
In his first full season on PGA TOUR Champions, Steven Alker captured the Charles Schwab Cup after leading the standings for the final 21 weeks of the season. Alker won four times in 2022, including three in a five-start span with the Rapiscan Systems Classic, Insperity Invitational and his first senior major title at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. He added a victory at the first Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs event, the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, in October. In 2022, Alker earned $3,544,425, the second-most by any player in PGA TOUR Champions history.
Steven Alker is the 2022 Schwab Cup Champion! 🏆— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) November 13, 2022
From Monday qualifier in 2021 to the best over 50 in 2022. pic.twitter.com/gkxPCfhE2i
2. Couples conquers Cary
63-year-old Fred Couples birdied 12 of the last 14 holes en route to a final-round 60 at the SAS Championship to become the first player to shoot his age or better in the final round to win. After opening with four pars, he birdied Nos. 5-9 before closing with birdies on Nos. 12-18 to match the second-lowest round in PGA TOUR Champions history. It was Couples’ 14th win on PGA TOUR Champions and snapped a winless streak of 5 years, 3 months and 21 days.
3. Langer captures 44th win
At 65 years, 2 months and 10 days, Bernhard Langer extended his record as the oldest winner in PGA TOUR Champions history at the TimberTech Championship and moved within one of tying Hale Irwin’s all-time wins record (45). Langer, who also captured the Chubb Classic in February, notched his 10th consecutive multi-win season on PGA TOUR Champions. Langer, who holds the top 3 spots on the oldest winners list, shot his age or better at both events with a first-round 64 in Naples and a second-round 63 in Boca Raton.
Win No. 44 at age 65 🏆— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) November 6, 2022
Bernhard Langer is now within one of tying Hale Irwin's all-time mark of 45. pic.twitter.com/jT2szfoGeW
4. Harrington’s breakthrough
Rookie Padraig Harrington won four times, including the U.S. Senior Open, en route to finishing No. 2 in the final Charles Schwab Cup standings. He added victories at the DICK’S Sporting Goods Open and Ascension Charity Classic before rewriting the record books at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. During his seven-stroke triumph at the season finale, Harrington set the PGA TOUR Champions record for 72-hole score (257) and tied the record for strokes under par (27-under).
5. Stricker’s return
In his third start since returning from a six-month absence due to illness, Steve Stricker went wire-to-wire at the Regions Tradition. After captaining the U.S. team to a victory at the Ryder Cup last fall, Stricker was sidelined from competition until late April, losing 25 to 30 pounds in the process. But when he returned, he was back to his previous form, winning four times in 12 starts, including The Ally Challenge, Sanford International and Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS.
6. Kelly: King of Firestone
For the second time in three years, Jerry Kelly won the Kaulig Companies Championship (formerly Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship), edging defending champion and fellow Madison, Wisconsin native Steve Stricker by two strokes. Kelly, who has gone 1st-2nd-1st in his last three showings at Firestone Country Club, finished No. 3 in the final Charles Schwab Cup standings. He won three times in 2022, all within a six-start span, adding the Principal Charity Classic and Shaw Charity Classic to his trophy mantle.
7. Quinn qualifies for U.S. Open
57-year-old Fran Quinn advanced through Local and Final Qualifying to earn a spot in the U.S. Open, held in his home state of Massachusetts. Quinn, who hails from Holden, located within an hour of The Country Club in Brookline, became the oldest qualifier for the event in 40 years. In the 36-hole qualifier held in New York, he survived an 8-for-3 playoff.
"God rest his soul ... he's smiling down."— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) June 8, 2022
Fran Quinn attended the 1988 U.S. Open at Brookline as a fan with his father. He missed qualifying by one shot.
His father told him one day he'd make it.
That day is next week! 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Zq3JpZrNMP
8. Another Jug for Clarke
Darren Clarke birdied the final hole of The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex to emerge from a crowded leaderboard and earn his first major title on PGA TOUR Champions. The 2011 Open champion became the fourth player to win both The Open and The Senior Open, joining Bob Charles, Gary Player and Tom Watson.
9. Two aces in Tucson
Miguel Angel Jimenez made two holes-in-one at the Cologuard Classic en route to winning two of the first three events of the season. He opened the year by winning the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai for the third time. In August, Jimenez notched his third win of the season at the Boeing Classic, where he played the final 45 holes without a bogey. It was his 13th win overall on PGA TOUR Champions.
10. The new guys
Notable rookies to make their PGA TOUR Champions debuts in 2022 included: David Duval, Brian Gay, Y.E. Yang, Justin Leonard and Notah Begay III. Gay and Yang each concluded their seasons in the top 36 of the Charles Schwab Cup standings, finishing 30th and 34th, respectively. Duval, who made his debut at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in January, made 21 starts during his rookie campaign. Leonard, who turned 50 on June 15, made four starts and Begay, who turned 50 on September 14, made two starts.