Each Thursday, the Boston Globe hands out its weekly golf award, goes inside the numbers, and looks at the week ahead on the tours:
Player of the week: Ted Potter Jr.
Apologies to Na Yeon Choi, because someone winning a first major championship is usually enough to capture this weekly prize. But Choi was ranked No. 5 in the world, so her victory at the US Women’s Open wasn’t completely unexpected. Potter’s win definitely was. The PGA Tour rookie was ranked No. 218 in the world heading into the Greenbrier Classic, and had missed five straight cuts. Perseverance? Potter knows all about that. In 2004, as a member of what’s now the Web.com Tour, Potter played in 24 tournaments. He never broke 70 in any round, and missed the cut in all 24 events. Now he’s a winner on the PGA Tour, and about to play in the British Open, one of the many perks that come with his victory.
Inside the numbers:
Steve Stricker has won the last three John Deere Classics, and could join a very exclusive group if he wins his fourth straight this week. Only four players have won the same PGA Tour event four straight times, but just one person has pulled off the four-peat since 1930. They are:
Young Tom Morris/British Open/1868-72 (not played in 1871)
Walter Hagen/PGA Championship/1924-27
Gene Sarazen/Miami Open/1927-30
Tiger Woods/Bay Hill Invitational/2000-03
Tiger Woods/Buick Invitational/2005-08
Stricker is already in select company with three straight victories in a PGA Tour event. The others:
Jamie Anderson/British Open/1877-79
Robert Ferguson/British Open/1880-82
Willie Anderson/US Open/1903-05
Walter Hagen/Metropolitan Open/1916-20 (not played in 1917-18)
Gene Sarazen/Miami Beach Open/1927-29
Henry Picard/Tournament of the Gardens/1935-37
Ralph Guldahl/Western Open/1936-38
Ben Hogan/Asheville Open/1940-42
Gene Littler/Tournament of Champions/1955-57
Billy Casper/Portland Open/1959-61
Arnold Palmer/Texas Open/1960-62
Arnold Palmer/Phoenix Open/1961-63
Jack Nicklaus/Disney World Golf Classic/1971-73
Johnny Miller/Tucson Open/1974-76
Tom Watson/Byron Nelson Classic/1978-80
Tiger Woods/NEC Invitational/1999-2001
Tiger Woods/Bridgestone Invitational/2005-07
Tiger Woods/CA Championship/2005-07
Qualifying note: The qualifying system next year that will award PGA Tour cards for 2014 has been finalized, with 50 cards up for grabs. The first 25 will be based off next year’s Web.com Tour money list; that hasn’t changed. But the next 25 is new. A three-tournament series, called the Web.com Tour Finals, will feature the top 75 players from the Web.com money list, those PGA Tour players ranked 126-200 on the FedEx Cup points list who won’t make the playoffs, and any non-member of the PGA Tour who would have been 126-200 on the FedEx Cup points list. The tour’s Qualifying School will still take place, but cards earned at final stage will be for the developmental Web.com Tour, not the PGA Tour.
Tweet of the week: “I saw the sun, I saw the sun. OK, OK it was at 30,000 feet, but it is up there, I promise. #britishsummer” – Luke Donald (@LukeDonald), the top-ranked player in the world who will try to successfully defend his Scottish Open at Castle Stuart this week.
This week’s tour schedules:
PGA Tour: John Deere Classic, Silvis, Ill. Purse: $4.6 million (winner’s share $810,000). Defending champion: Steve Stricker. Number of top-10 players in field: None. TV: Thursday/Friday 3-6 p.m. (Golf Channel), Saturday/Sunday 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
Champions Tour: US Senior Open, Lake Orion, Mich. Purse: $2.6 million (winner’s share $500,000). Defending champion: Olin Browne. TV: Thursday 3-7 p.m. (ESPN), Friday 3-7 p.m. (ESPN2), Saturday/Sunday 3-6 p.m. (NBC).
European Tour: Scottish Open, Inverness, Scotland. Purse: 2.5 million pounds. Defending champion: Luke Donald. TV: Thursday/Friday 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Saturday/Sunday 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (all on Golf Channel).
Web.com Tour: Utah Championship, Sandy, Utah. Purse: $550,000 (winner’s share $99,000). Defending champion: J.J. Killeen. TV: Thursday/Friday/Saturday 6:30-8:30 p.m., Sunday 7-9 p.m. (all on Golf Channel).