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PGA TOUR ChAmPiOns

A prominent trio As dominating storylines go, rookie wins by Els, Furyk and Mickelson—a trio whose roots in professional golf date to the George H.W. Bush administration—should stand as a prominent one. Yet, when the year 2020 is chronicled, likely every recollection will start with the COVID-19 pandemic. That is true, too, with the PGA TOUR Champions season and for a sense of how disjointed it was, consider this: Those maiden wins by Els, Furyk and Mickelson came in just a five-tournament stretch, but played out over a five-month period.

the seAson hAlts

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Newcomer Jim Furyk on Bernhard Langer (below, left): “I guess Bernhard is probably everyone’s rival. He’s been kicking everyone’s butt for 10 years.”

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Phil Mickelson carded a 5-under 66 in the final round to finish at 22-under to win the 2020 Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National in his PGA TOUR Champions debut.

membership knew what was at stake by playing during a pandemic.

BAck on trAck “We’re thrilled to be back out here, but we’re also on a high wire and we can’t afford to fall,” said Miller Brady, President of PGA TOUR Champions. “We have to do the right thing.” Credit a membership’s veteran perspective for validating Brady’s faith and for accepting the challenge. They accepted the parameters to the COVID-19 “bubble” lifestyle and met health guidelines. On the golf front, they unanimously embraced the decision to cobble together a 15-tournament season in 2020, then parcel it with 25 events in 2021 for a 40-tournament wraparound package that will crown a Schwab Cup champion in fall of 2021. Against a backdrop of a world turned upsidedown, competitors on PGA TOUR Champions shone brilliantly and if you think they didn’t savor the opportunity or appreciate the trappings, take a triple bogey. When PGA TOUR Champions returned from the long break, it was Furyk who delivered momentum with a rousing victory. It set in motion a run of quality performances—Jerry

images: getty images

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the season came to an abrupt halt following Els’ victory at the Hoag Classic in Newport Beach, Calif. It was March 8, only five tournaments had been played, and it would be four-and-a-half months before competition could be resumed. That play returned for The Ally Challenge at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc, Mich.—a course on which many of these players had competed in PGA TOUR tournaments for years—was comfortable. What also provided an antidote to anxiety was a firm belief that the

“Against a backdrop of a world turned upside-down, competitors on the PGA TOUR Champions shone brilliantly …”

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DECEMBER 2020 – MAY 2021 PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE

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04/01/2021 11:26

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