Planet Golf — 09 November 2020 by Candace Oehler
Marathon end to Schwab Cup

PHOENIX – (Cover photo credit PGA TOUR Media / Additional info provided by PGA TOUR Champions media staff)

Victory came a day late for Kevin Sutherland, but he finally managed to take down Paul Broadhurst on the 9th playoff hole Monday morning to win his second Charles Schwab Cup Championship in the past four years. Play was suspended Sunday evening due to darkness after 6 playoff holes (alternating between the par-4, 17th and par-5, 18th), and both players having missed winning putts. Sutherland’s birdie on 17 early Monday, after two more playoff holes, finally clinched the deal, and gave him a 3-0 playoff record.

Neither wanted to have to return Monday, but even speed golf couldn’t hold back the darkness Sunday.

Said Sutherland, “We played really fast, by the way. Just seemed like we couldn’t make a putt. We had some opportunities for birdie, but neither one of us could find a way to make one.”

Broadhurst, a five-time winner on the PGA TOUR Champions, agreed. “That’s as quick as I’ve ever played six holes. I didn’t dream we’d get six holes in. I thought a couple holes. No, I mean, we didn’t have time to talk, it was just get on with the job and may the best man win.”

Sutherland, the 2017 Charles Schwab Cup Champion (and Schwab Cup winner), entered the final round with a five-shot lead, but had a so-so Sunday, with a -2 (69). Meanwhile, Broadhurst made a spectacular charge and shot the round of the tournament, a bogey-free 63, to make up a six shot deficit and take the lead. They tied at -15 after Sutherland’s long birdie putt on 18 forced the playoff.

Sutherland, who earned $375,000 for the win, was almost at a loss to explain his success at Phoenix Country Club.

“You know, I don’t know. I’ve always hit good iron shots here and I think it’s a good eye for me.”

Coming into the tournament, Sutherland had notched 9 top 10s in 15 starts. The victory was his first of the 2020-2021 season, and vaulted him from 7th to 3rd place in Charles Schwab Cup money list, behind Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer.

Weather was an unexpected factor at the “must go low” tournament, especially on Saturday, with unseasonably blustery conditions and wind gusts up to 25 mph. Scoring average increased from 69.778 on Friday, to 71.750 Saturday, with 41 rounds over par and just 20 rounds below 70. Sunday was also chillier than normal, but the winds were more benign. Still, the scoring average of 70.936 was higher than normal, and 35 rounds over par were carded.

Neither defending tournament champion Jeff Maggert (-3, T28) nor defending Charles Schwab Cup Champion Scott McCarron (+3, T55) were factors this year.

More Masters thoughts:

Mike Weir – I played there many times where it’s been cold and the ball doesn’t travel and that doesn’t bode well for someone who hits it my distance compared to the PGA TOUR. But if it’s a little bit warmer and you get it out there, it’s scorable. I’m as excited as I’ve been in probably a dozen years going there. I really feel great about my game and very excited to get there.

His first time there – . I spent lots of time walking through the clubhouse looking at old pictures, visited the wine cellar, I heard great things about that, I wanted to go down and see that. The great thing that I remember was just how accommodating that everybody was, the staff and everybody is just so great there. It’s just a wonderful week

Sandy Lyle (making his 38th appearance) – Cross your fingers for an old guy playing there having it warm, a little bit of help down the fairways, manage to get it around decent.

I get allowed as a past champion to park right next to the pro shop. You literally fall out, you’re in the pro shop, you’re in the clubhouse. You can’t get any nearer other than being by the door. It’s a pleasure to have it so close to the — it’s just a prestige tournament, to park that close to the clubhouse.

Mark O’Meara (first Masters in 1980; won at age 41) – Re favorite Masters dinner: Of course. Mine, 1999. We had a big sushi appetizer out front during the cocktail party and we had chicken and steak fajitas. I believe there’s a young man named Mr. Woods that kind of copied my dinner that was supposed to happen this past April. One of the big reasons I’m going to go on Tuesday night is I’m looking forward to having the chicken and steak fajitas that Tiger’s going to serve.

Jose Maria Olazabal talks about upcoming Masters:

Blustery Saturday made scoring tricky.

Kirk Triplett makes a statement. Credit: PGA Tour Media
Caption? Tim Lumpy” Herron and Jesper Parnevik
Langer long after his round was over
Esteban Toledo and caddy/daughter Eden.

Who’s old? At 75, Hale Irwin bettered his age with a first-round 72, shot his age in the second round, and missed by just one in the third round. He finished at +10, in 74th place. Winner of the 1998 Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Irwin made his 15th start at the season finale and first since 2011.

Raves – Players are always unanimous in their praise of PCC, especially the greens. Said Paul Goydos, “The greens are embarrassingly good. If you miss a putt, you either misread or mis-hit it, there’s no way it’s not going to roll on the line that you hit it on. It might be the best Bermuda greens I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Bye – John Daly withdrew (illness) after 8 holes on Sunday (70-73).

Coverage during COVID – more on this later.

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About Author

Candace Oehler’s deep dive into sports media began several decades ago when she won a trip from Seattle to Mariners spring training in Arizona. Noting that non-English-speaking Latino ball players received little, if any, media coverage, she fluently/en español became a pioneer in Spanish sports media, and eventually became known affectionately throughout the Latino MLB community as “La Veterana.” Candace has written for team publications and; hosted her own radio show on several Spanish-language stations; served as producer/reporter/engineer for the Mariners’ inaugural season of Spanish radio broadcasts; and has been a reporter for MLB Network Radio the past 10 years. She was invited to Venezuela by future Hall-of-Fame shortstop Omar Vizquel to cover rebuilding efforts and accomplishments of his charitable foundation following the devastating 1999 mudslides; worked in Puerto Rico for former Major Leaguers Joey Cora and Carlos Baerga managing fundraising events; and was the only female in the raucous locker room when the hometown favorite Licey Tigers won the 2004 Caribbean World Series in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Candace was introduced to the game of golf in 1992 by members of Seattle’s historic Fir State Golf Club, who had approached her to manage their (then) little fundraising tournament hosted by a shy, gangly 15-year old Tiger Woods. Candace co-managed the annual event for nearly 20 years, working with hosts that included Ken Griffey, Sr., Birdie Griffey, Mike Cameron, Nate McMillan, Warren Moon, and Dale Ellis. She became secretary of the club and the Fir State Junior Golf Foundation, and got totally, completely hooked on golf, learning to play on a set of Redbirds given to her by the club (apparently they considered her mother’s Patty Bergs a bit antiquated). She has since traded up to another set of Redbirds and a much more user-friendly golf environment in Arizona. And, once a prolonged stint on the DL is over, she can’t wait to get back on the course and continue lowering her current 21-handicap to ….?

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