PHOENX | Journeyman Kevin Sutherland shot -15 and emerged victorious in the PGA TOUR Champions Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Sunday, his first victory in 341 starts. With the breakthrough win, he also captured the ultimate prize, the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup and the $1 million annuity that comes with it.
Entering the Championship in fifth place on the points list, Sutherland needed to win at Phoenix Country Club in order to dethrone Bernhard Langer, who was aiming for his fourth consecutive Cup, and had already won the first two playoff events. While Langer dominated the season and led the Cup standings 23 of 25 weeks, Sutherland was never in the winner’s circle.
The 53-year old was remarkably consistent, though, and notched 15 top-10s and three runner-up finishes. Prior to today, his career included 37 top-10s in 77 starts. He is also the only player on the senior circuit to shoot 59 (Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, 2014)
“I played really well all year and I just couldn’t find a way to get a win,” he said. “So to win this tournament, it’s unbelievable. I keep pinching myself.”
He admitted that since his sole victory in 2002, there were times he doubted the possibility of another win.
“There’s times you doubt that it’s going to happen. You know, it’s just like it doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards sometimes. A lot of times it’s because of something I was unable to do, and today I was able to take advantage of some opportunities.”
Langer finished T12 (-10) and would have retained the Cup had Sutherland not won the Championship. The German, who was part of the policy board that made changes in the playoff system, was stoic about losing the Cup to a player who had zero victories to his seven.
While voicing his opinion about the unfairness of the two-year old system, he qualified it by remarking, “It was never meant to be fair. It was meant to be playoffs. Everybody in the field was given a chance to win. Is it fair? No, it’s not, but that’s how it is right now. We might revisit in the future.”
More notes and quotes soon!
Tiffany engraver writes Sutherland’s name on the Cup.