Three bogeys, one double-bogey, forty-six pars, and a phenomenal twenty-two birdies. Forty-six of fifty-six fairways, fifty-six of seventy-two greens, one-hundred-thirteen putts. Four rounds in the 60s (65, 65, 68, 69), 17-under, 267 total: that’s Fred Couples’ week at TPC Harding Park by the numbers – the story of how he collected his first win of the 2013 Champions tour season in the last tournament of the year.
Numbers were a big part of the story for 2013 Schwab Cup Champion Kenny Perry, too. Perry had a firm grasp on the Schwab Cup coming in to the week, with a lead of 612 points. Bernhard Langer, the man in second, was there with a hand on it, too, though Perry was in the strongest position for the win. For Langer to take the cup he had to win the tournament outright, with Perry finishing no better than a 2-way tie for fourth place, or a 5-way tie for fifth place, while all Perry had to do was finish the tournament, even in last place, as long as Langer didn’t win, or solo 5th or better if Langer did win.
Perry joked about campaigning during the week “like a candidate for mayor” with his fellow Champions Tour players for someone – anyone but Langer – to win the Schwab Cup Championship if it looked like he was going to finish back in the pack, and it turned out to be a close-run race.
The closing holes of the tournament had the Tour personnel and the writers in the media center crunching numbers furiously, working the possible scenarios. As it turned out, Perry finished in a 4-way tie for fifth place and Langer moved into a tie for second place late Sunday afternoon when a faltering Mark O’Meara fell out of solo second with an untimely double-bogey at the eighteenth hole.
Perry called his achievement, winning the Schwab Cup at age 53, “A dream come true”, while Couples, who limits his tournament play to about 19 weeks out of the year, has set himself the goal, for next year, of winning the Cup himself.
“Next year is a big year. I'm going to practice I'm going to be ready,’ he said, “Next year my goal is to win the Schwab Cup.”