THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The inaugural Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs get underway this week at Sherwood Country Club, with the $2 million PowerShares QQQ Championship kicking off the first of three season-ending events to determine the top PGA TOUR Champions player for the 2016 season.Playoffs will consist of the PowerShares QQQ Championship, the Dominion Charity Classic in Richmond, Va., and the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz. Throughout the three-tournament series, the field of players will be reduced from 72 players down to 54 and eventually to 36 for the season-ending event just outside of Phoenix.
Some of the biggest names in golf history will descend on Sherwood C.C. this week to compete in the PowerShares QQQ Championship, including World Golf Hall of Fame members Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara and Ian Woosnam, who was named to the Hall’s 2017 class last week.
Langer, a three-time Charles Schwab Cup champion, enters the week as the top player during a 2016 campaign in which he notched four PGA TOUR Champions title, including major championship victories at the Regions Tradition and the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
The two-time Masters Tournament champion, who owns 29 career PGA TOUR Champions titles, is No. 1 on the Charles Schwab Cup points list with 2,697,459 points. The tally mirrors his 2016 earnings, which were converted to points in advance of the Playoffs, with double points awarded during the first two events ($100,000 equals 200,000 points, etc.)
Langer, who is tied for second on the all-time PGA TOUR Champions victories list, mathematically locked up the 2016 money title with a runner-up finish at the SAS Championship two weeks ago. The 59-year-old has won five consecutive money titles on Tour, and eight of the last nine during one of the most dominant decade-long stretches on any level of professional golf.
“Bernhard’s season has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said PowerShares QQQ Championship Executive Director O.D. Vincent. “He is a testament to the competitive nature of PGA TOUR Champions, and will certainly be a strong favorite when play begins on Friday.”
Langer headlines a strong top-10 list in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, which includes Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez (2), Montgomerie (4) and former UCLA stars Scott McCarron (8) and Duffy Waldorf (10).
The 52-year-old Jimenez earned fan favorite status through the years with his trademark ponytail and well-lit cigar during tournament rounds. On social media, Jimenez acquired an entire new set of fans via his pre-round stretching routine, which combined the looks of yoga and dance to create an infinite number of posts on numerous outlets.
On PGA TOUR Champions, Jimenez has won an event each of the last three years, with a victory at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic in April serving as the most recent. He has been the most consistent player on Tour this year behind Langer, notching a staggering eight top-5 finishes in 10 starts, including the win and four runner-ups.
Montgomerie, who spent the vast majority of his career competing on the European Tour, has made a second home on PGA TOUR Champions. The 53-year-old has notched four victories on Tour, including last month’s Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship in Victoria, British Columbia.
The eight-time European Ryder Cup team member compiled one of the all-time best records in the biennial event, posting a 20-7-1 stat line without losing a singles match. During his tenure on the team, Montgomerie helped the Europeans to five victories, with each coming in his last six years of competition from 1995 through 2006.
The most recognizable name in the field and without doubt the likely fan favorite is two-time major championship winner John Daly, who checks in at No. 70 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings during his rookie season on PGA TOUR Champions.
The affable Daly, who turned 50 on April 28 of this year, famously won the 1991 PGA Championship when he went from ninth alternate to tournament winner at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indiana. The unknown former Arkansas Razorback brought drives in excess of 300 yards and a rabid fan base to golf on his way to securing PGA TOUR “Rookie of the Year” honors.
Daly collected five TOUR titles throughout his career, including the 1995 Open Championship at St. Andrews, where he defeated Italy’s Constantino Rocca in a playoff after Rocca made a 60-foot putt from the infamous Valley of Sin on the final hole of regulation to force extra holes.
“We are thrilled to have some of the game’s true legends in town to compete this week,” said Vincent. “Golf is the rare sport where you can see Hall of Fame members and childhood idols compete at a high level after turning 50, and I’m confident that our fans and sponsors will enjoy a great week of Playoff competition at Sherwood.”
Other notable names in the field at the PowerShares QQQ Championship include two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, Open Championship winners Tom Lehman, Todd Hamilton and Mark Calcavecchia, PGA Championship winners Jeff Sluman and Mark Brooks, and 1987 Masters Tournament champion Larry Mize.
Players with local ties include McCarron (UCLA), Waldorf (UCLA), Doug Garwood (Van Nuys), Paul Goydos (Long Beach), Tom Pernice, Jr. (UCLA), O’Meara (Mission Viejo) and Steve Pate (UCLA).
Fans can enjoy seeing the best PGA TOUR Champions players at the PowerShares QQQ Championship with a variety of ticket options. Good-Any-One-Day daily grounds tickets are available for $29, while fans can enjoy three days of grounds access for just $59 (Friday – Sunday). Clubhouse tickets are also available starting at $59 for a daily pass and $119 for a three-day pass (Friday – Sunday).
The PowerShares QQQ Championship is pleased to offer complimentary tickets for all Active Duty, Military Reserve and National Guard Service members, Military Retirees, Veterans and their dependents. Veterans will be limited to four (4) complimentary tickets per person each day Friday – Sunday. To register for a complimentary ticket and receive a voucher, please visit https://birdiesforthebrave2.sheerid.com/powersharesqqq-2016/. Must show Department of Defense issued ID along with printed voucher at tournament. Tickets are complimentary but a $1 verification fee per military individual will apply if purchased online.
The tournament will feature Pro-Ams on Wednesday and Thursday prior to the start of play, which is set to begin at approximately 8:10 a.m. on Friday morning, with players competing in threesomes off of No. 1 tee, and paired according to their standings in the Charles Schwab Cup.
The week officially kicks off on Thursday for fans with a Community Champions Day that features legends from not only the PGA TOUR Champions, but also tennis stars like Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mark Philippousis and Jim Courier. Community Champions Day is FREE for the public to attend and watch the Pro-Am event where competitors are paired with a Champions Tour professional, enjoy lunch from on-course concessions, take part in a free golf clinic at 1 p.m. with PGA TOUR Champions pros and watch the tennis exhibition on site at Sherwood Country Club’s tennis courts. The SoCal Dealers Helpful Cup Presented by PowerShares QQQ will take place later that day at 2 p.m., where fans can purchase tickets and see the official tennis match
For more information on the event, tickets or hospitality, visit PowerSharesQQQChampionship.com, facebook.com/PowerSharesQQQChamp or @PwrShrsQQQChamp on Twitter.