All-time Power Rankings: Charles Schwab Challenge
May 18, 2020
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Ben Crenshaw won twice at Colonial Country Club. (PGA TOUR Archive)
The Charles Schwab Challenge is scheduled to restart the 2019-20 PGA TOUR season on June 11-14. Presuming it does, the Power Rankings for the 144-man field is guaranteed to embody reliable trends that have identified the champion for some time.
Consider that Sergio Garcia in 2001 remains the last first-time PGA TOUR winner at Colonial Country Club and the last first-time participant to prevail. As a result, the Charles Schwab Challenge is poised to be as hot a reentry as it gets in the context of sizing up any field.
Meanwhile, there is zero question who belongs atop the all-time Power Rankings for the tournament. With five victories, Ben Hogan essentially and single-handedly legitimized this annual TOUR stop. Even though he never has been directly associated with the name of the tournament, Hogan's Alley has been the only host of all 72 editions (since 1946).
ALL-TIME POWER RANKINGS: CHARLES SCHWAB CHALLENGE
15. Cary Middlecoff … Of the six runners-up to Ben Hogan's five wins at Colonial, Middlecoff is the only with an overall record strong enough to warrant this kind of attention. His silver came in 1953, but he captured victory in 1951. Among 17 cuts made through 1964, he amassed seven top 10s and another pair of top 20s.
14. Billy Casper … Collected two of his 51 trophies on the PGA TOUR with wins at Colonial in 1964 and 1968. Added a solo third and another four top 25s, all within the span of nine cuts made from 1958-1968.
13. Phil Mickelson … For many, the first (and maybe the only) memory of him at Colonial is of the fan who cannonballed into the greenside pond beside the 18th hole when he sealed victory in 2008. However, the lefty first won the tournament in 2000 and finished T2 in his defense of that title in 2001. Of his 12 cuts made, four were top 10s; another four were top 25s.
12. Bruce Lietzke … Owner of a characteristically solid record at Colonial. Went 22-for-26 with four top 10s among 12 top 25s. He won twice (1980, 1992) and placed T3 in 1983. A T58 two months before his 50th birthday not only represented his last cut made of 401 in his career, it also was his last of 506 PGA TOUR starts.
11. Gardner Dickinson … Half of his 18 cuts made were top 10s (among 11 top 15s), the last of which a victory in his 15th start in 1969. He also finished third three times.
10. Kenny Perry … When he followed a T2 in 2002 with a six-stroke victory in 2003, he established the tournament record of 19-under 261. He matched it in 2005 for his second win, this time by seven shots. His target times two stood until Zach Johnson went two lower in 2010. All told at Colonial, Perry is 19-for-24 with four top 10s and another four top 25s.
9. Zach Johnson … Since we started this series with the Valero Texas Open, the most vocal disapproval concerning an omission has been for ZJ at that tournament. Despite two wins among four top 10s in eight appearances, he didn't even crack the Honorable Mentions. Now, there have been 17 more editions of that tournament than there have of the Charles Schwab Challenge, and the all-time Power Rankings proper went only 10 deep that week, but there is no love lost for him at Colonial where he's also won twice. From 2009-2013, he finished no worse than T9 and he's totaled eight top 20s. His 21-under 259 in 2010 is the tournament record.
8. Nick Price … Given his strength tee to green, it's hardly a surprise that he enjoyed considerable success at Colonial. In 17 starts, he posted five top 10s and another four top 25s. In addition to a T2 in 1990, he prevailed in 1994 and 2002, the latter his last of 18 PGA TOUR victories and at the age of 45. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame the following year.
7. Tom Watson … From 1977-1986, he finished third twice and fourth four times. Then, and finally, in his 21st start in 1998 and at the age of 48, he connected for only victory at Colonial. It was the last of 39 titles in his PGA TOUR career. His final appearance in 2002 resulted in a solo seventh, giving his 10 top 10s and 13 top 25s among 20 cuts made in the Charles Schwab Challenge. That last hurrah also was his second-to-last of 219 career top 10s (P2, 2009 Open Championship).
6. Lee Trevino … What the Dallas native never accomplished over at the AT&T Byron Nelson, he achieved twice at Colonial with victories in 1976 and 1978. They punctuated seven top 10s among 12 top 25s. He also lost by one stroke in 1970.
5. Ben Crenshaw … He and Corey Pavin effectively are Nos. 4 and 4a given the similarities in their career records at Colonial. Each won twice, finished second twice and totaled eight top 10s among 15 top 25s in 32 starts. The differences that favor Pavin is that Crenshaw didn't have a chance at a third victory in a playoff. He also "settled" for 21 cuts made.
4. Corey Pavin … In addition to the résumé laid out above beside Ben Crenshaw, Pavin lost in a playoff in 1992 and rung up 25 paydays. His T7 as a 50-year-old in 2010 was the penultimate of 107 career top 10s on the PGA TOUR.
3. Gene Littler … Indeed, Colonial Country Club was Hogan's Alley, but if not for a handful of close calls, it also may have been known as Littler's Lane. Among his 23 cuts made, he won once (1971) and earned runner-up honors four times, three of which by one stroke (1960, 1970, 1979). He also placed third, T4, fifth, T6, T7, T8 (twice) and inside the top 25 another six times.
2. Julius Boros … Compiled the strongest overall record among the 11 two-time champions. Logged six top-five finishes including titles in 1960 and 1963, three of which after the age of 51! Totaled nine top 10s and 15 top 25s among 24 paydays.
1. Ben Hogan … Not a native of Fort Worth, Texas, but don't try to win any arguments confirming it. He relocated to the city as a boy and dropped anchor for life. He's the only golfer in tournament history to win consecutive editions, and he did that twice (1946-1947 and 1952-1953). His fifth title at the age of 46 in 1959 was the last of 64 in his career. He also finished T2 once and T3 twice en route to 15 top 10s among 19 top 20s. Finished T56 in his last appearance in 1970. It marked his final payday of 293 in his career.
Incrementally speaking, he edges numerous one-time winners with multiple podium finishes because of the depth of his 15-for-20 record. His title in 2011 was the fifth of six top 10s that also included a T2 in 2002 and a T3 in 2005. He logged his last top 10 with a T5 in 2014 and his last of nine top 25s with a T25 as a 49-year-old in 2016.
He and Jack Nicklaus authored the same records except that Crampton cashed in 13 starts to Nicklaus' 10. The Aussie prevailed in 1965 and shared runner-up honors in 1973. He also finished third in 1962 en route to six top 10s and eight top 25s.
While Bruce Crampton made three more cuts, the quality of Nicklaus' top 10s were a little better. In addition to his victory at the age of 42 in 1982, which signified his first trip to the tournament in eight years, he was the runner-up in the previous visit (in 1974). He also placed third in 1963 and fourth twice.
Depending on the fan, his temper, or the perception thereof, overshadowed the fact that he won the 1958 U.S. Open in his native Oklahoma at Southern Hills. He also didn't begin competing regularly on the PGA TOUR until his age-34 season of 1950, but he went on to win 15 times, including at Colonial the month before his U.S. Open title. He also finished second, third and T9 twice, the latter as a 52-year-old in 1968. Of his 19 cuts made, five went for a top 10 and another three were top 25s.
There's no disputing that other non-winners have better career records at Colonial, but it'd be an injustice to ignore his. The Texan missed only one edition from 1972-2002 and only one cut – his last – so he made 28 consecutive cuts through the age of 51 (in 2001). His best finish was a T3 in 1981, but he had three other top fives en route to six top 10s and 11 top 25s. Gary Player (16 paydays, two seconds, eight top 10s, 14 top 25s), Lloyd Mangrum (15 paydays, one second, one third, eight top 10s, 12 top 25s) and Don January (21 paydays, a T2, three thirds, seven top 10s, 14 top 25s) also deserve recognition.