Planet Golf — 13 November 2017 by Candace Oehler
Sutherland wins Championship and Cup

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.




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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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