Notes: 90 Tour alumni in PLAYERS field

May 07, 2013

The Tour does not play this week. Tournament play resumes next week (May 16-19) at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation, which is contested on three courses in the Greenville, S.C. area. It will also be the Tour’s first televised event of 2013 on Golf Channel.

DAWGS GRAB THIRD IN A ROW AT HOME – Brendon Todd became the third University of Georgia Bulldog in a row to capture the Stadion Classic at UGA.  Played at the UGA Golf Course near the Athens campus, the 2007 graduate followed in the footsteps of fellow UGA All-Americans Russell Henley (2011) and Hudson Swafford (2012) in winning the rain-shortened event.  Todd is splitting his time between the PGA TOUR (three starts) and the Tour (five starts) after finishing 150th on the TOUR money list last year.  He leaped from 37th to fourth in earnings.

DEEPEST FIELD DEEP IN WEB.COM TOUR ALUMS – There are 90 Tour alumni in this week’s PLAYERS Championship field of 145, which is recognized as the deepest in golf.  The breakdown for the last five tournaments is: 2013 – 90; 2012 – 89; 2011 – 91; 2010 – 89; 2009 – 81.

PLAYERS’ DEBUT – There are six contestants in THE PLAYERS who are first-time participants and earned their 2013 PGA TOUR status via last year’s “25” on the Tour. The group includes 2012 Tour Player of the Year Casey Wittenberg and 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii winner Russell Henley, plus Luke Guthrie, Brian Stuard, James Hahn and David Lingmerth. All six were at TPC Sawgrass last fall for the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open on Dye’s Valley, with Henley capturing the title.

TPC SAWGRASS TO HOST ONE MORE BIG EVENT IN SEPTEMBER – In addition to this week’s PGA TOUR flagship event, THE PLAYERS Championship, TPC Sawgrass will be home to the Tour’s culminating event of its revamped 2013 schedule.  All 50 PGA TOUR cards for the 2013-14 season will come through the Tour beginning this year. Twenty-one Regular Season events will set the stage for the new four-event Tour Finals in September, with the 50 cards being finalized at the Tour Championship played at Dye’s Valley course at TPC Sawgrass, Sept. 26-29.  Futures will be on the line at the Finals for the top-75 money winners from the Tour and those who finish 126-200 on the FedExCup points list. Odds are some who are competing in THE PLAYERS this week will return to Dye’s Valley in September. In its first three years of hosting the Tour (2010-‘11-‘12), Dye’s Valley ranked as the fourth, first and fourth-hardest course on Tour each year, respectively.

WILCOX EARNS APRIL PLAYER OF THE MONTH – Will Wilcox is the Tour’s player of the month for April.  The Alabama native won his first Tour event, the South Georgia Classic, after recording two other top-30 finishes in Brazil (T29) and Midland, Texas (T26). Congratulations, Will.

LOAR, STILL NO. 1 – With a T18 finish at the Stadion Classic at UGA, Edward Loar padded his lead atop the Tour money list.  With earnings of $199,583 in seven starts, the lefty out of Oklahoma State University has a lead of almost $50,000 over Chile’s Benjamin Alvarado.  Loar has been No. 1 after the last five tournaments.

CONGRATULATIONS, ESTEBAN – Congratulations to Esteban Toledo on winning his first Champions Tour event Sunday in Houston.  The Mexicali, Mexico native is a longtime Tour member having logged 323 Tour starts through 2012, which included a win at Lake Erie, Pa. in 2005, four runners-up and three third-place finishes.

NEXT WEEK – The Tour resumes play at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation (May 16-19), which will be played over three courses in the Greenville, S.C. area to accommodate its unique celebrity format.