PGA Tour Champions: Schwab Cup Finale Preview

PGA Tour Champions will head to the clubhouse this week, finishing the 2016 season at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

If you can’t get enough of the intense drama that comes with events like the Tour Championship, you should definitely consider tuning into this week’s PGA Tour Champions action. Starting tomorrow, the top 36 players on the money list will compete for the Charles Schwab Cup, the circuit’s season-long prize, at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Cochise Course at Desert Mountain measures in at 7,019 yards and should be a fun test for the game’s top seniors, featuring several risk/reward holes. Over the years, the track has been honored by numerous publications, including Golf Digest, Links Magazine and the Phoenix Business Journal.

For those unfamiliar, the Schwab Cup is a lot like the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup. Over the past two weeks, the fields have dwindled with the season finale coming up on the horizon. Now only the best remain, with the top five in the standings able to secure the whole kit and kaboodle with a victory this week. The others will need help from the main frontrunners, but all will have a chance.

As they often are, all eyes will be on Bernhard Langer this week. The spectacular German had a representative season: two regular wins and two majors, including his third consecutive crown at the Senior Players Championship. He was also incredibly consistent, placing in the top 15 in every one of his 20 starts. Sitting in the pole position on the money list, it’s already been a stellar campaign, but a third consecutive Schwab Cup win would be an important cherry on top.

Heading into the event, Langer’s biggest rival will be the red-hot Scott McCarron, currently sitting in second in the standings. The UCLA product has had a nice go of it over the past couple of weeks, tying for sixth at the PowerShares QQQ Championship before pulling out a huge playoff victory over Tom Byrum at the Dominion Charity Classic last week. If he can continue that strong run at Desert Mountain this week, he could become the first American to win the Schwab Cup since Kenny Perry in 2013.

The other members of the top five are Colin Montgomerie, Joe Durant and Miguel Angel Jimenez. Each picked up a win this year, and Durant ranked second on the circuit in top 10s with 13. Montgomerie and Durant are playing some nice golf at the moment, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see either of those two step up for the win. Jimenez’s form isn’t as strong, but you never know what to expect from the Most Interesting Man in Golf, especially with his short game.

Beyond those five, there are a number of players with the talent to take the Cup this week; however, all will need help from the few in power. Kevin Sutherland, Woody Austin and Fred Funk rank among the notable names outside the top five, but everyone in the field will have a chance to take it all this week, even Esteban Toledo down at No. 36.

Three players in this week’s field are former winners at Desert Mountain: Billy Andrade, Tom Pernice, Jr. and Tom Lehman. While Lehman notched the lowest winning score at 22-under, it’s Andrade who has the best chance to take the Schwab Cup this week — at 12th in points, he needs to pass far fewer of his peers than the other two.

Whatever happens, it’s sure to be a dramatic weekend — sort of a FedEx Cup-lite. Be sure to tune in, as you won’t get to see these guys again until next year. Coverage begins tomorrow at 4 p.m. on the Golf Channel.

Who’s your pick to win the Charles Schwab Cup? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, and keep it here at Pro Golf Now for more PGA Tour Champions updates.

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