Dates: March 12-18, 2012
Where: Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club (Copperhead Course)
Par/Yards: 36-35—71/7,340 yards
2011 champion: Gary Woodland
Purse: $5,500,000/$990,000 (winner)
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Reviewing the 2011 Transitions Championship
Gary Woodland converted an 11-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to post 15-under-par, then watched as Webb Simpson made bogey on No. 18, failing to save par from the back fringe, giving the then 26-year-old his first PGA TOUR victory. The par-save at No. 18 was Woodland’s only par on the back nine, which featured five birdies, three bogeys and just 10 putts en route to a closing 4-under 67. Woodland’s victory was the fourth by an American in the last five years following a streak of five-consecutive victories by International players (2002-2006).
13 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings, including tournament winners Mark Wilson (No. 4 – Humana Challenge), Justin Rose (No. 8 – WGC-Cadillac Championship), Brandt Snedeker (No. 9 – Farmers Insurance Open), John Huh (No. 15 – Mayakoba Golf Classic) and George McNeill (No. 19).
Last year, Gary Woodland claimed his first PGA TOUR victory by one stroke over Webb Simpson at the Transitions Championship. Woodland would go on to qualify for all four events in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup and finished the season at No. 17 in the season-long points race.
Runner-up to Gary Woodland at the 2011 Transitions Championship, Webb Simpson returns to the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club after finishing No. 2 in the FedExCup standings last year thanks to victories at the Wyndham Championship and Deutsche Bank Championship.
Luke Donald, the reigning PGA TOUR Player of the Year, returns to the Transitions Championship after a one year absence. He finished T6 in 2010, his best result in three career appearances. Donald won twice on the PGA TOUR in 2011 (WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Children’s Miracle Network Classic) en route to earning Player of the Year honors. He is currently ranked No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Justin Rose, who claimed his fourth PGA TOUR victory over the weekend at the Cadillac Championship, returns to the Transitions Championship. He finished T5 at Innisbrook last year.
Fort Myers, FL, resident George McNeill claimed his second PGA TOUR victory over the weekend at the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com. His best finish at the Transitions Championship was a T2 in 2008.
Reigning Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel will make his first start at the Transitions Championship while fellow South African Ernie Els will make his first start since 2008.
Englishman Tom Lewis will make his PGA TOUR debut at just 21 years of age at the Transitions Championship. Lewis held a share of the first-round lead at last year’s British Open Championship after carding a 65 at Royal St. George’s , the lowest round ever by an amateur in the event. He finished T30.Lewis went on to collect his first professional victory at the 2011 Portugal Masters on the European Tour and was named Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year on the European Tour.
England’s Paul Casey will make just his second start of the 2012 PGA TOUR season at the Transitions Championship after missing the first two months of the season with a separated shoulder he suffered while snowboarding in early January. Casey held the first-round lead in 2011 after an opening 64 and eventually finished T37. He finished T51 last week at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
Like Casey, American Lucas Glover returns to action after a lengthy layoff due to injury at the Transitions Championship. The two-time PGA TOUR winner and 2009 U.S. Open champion sprained a ligament in his right knee while paddleboarding in Hawaii prior to the start of the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He was forced to withdraw prior to the start of the first round and has been sidelined since. His best result in eight previous appearances at the Transitions Championship was a T4 in 2007.
International flavor at the Transitions Championship: There are currently 48 players from outside of the United States representing 17 different countries in the field for the Transitions Championship. Australia has the most players in the field with eight, followed by South Africa with seven and England and South Korea with six apiece. Canada and Sweden have three while Argentina and Japan have two. Colombia, Fiji, Germany, India, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Venezuela and Zimbabwe each have one player in the field.
Past winners of the Transitions Championship (7): Gary Woodland (2011), Jim Furyk (2010), Retief Goosen (2009, 2003), Sean O’Hair (2008), K.J. Choi (2006, 2002), Carl Pettersson (2005) and Vijay Singh (2004).
Miscellaneous Transitions Championship Notes
The three players that finished immediately behind 2011 Transitions Championship winner Gary
Woodland in the final results each went on to record victories on TOUR last year. They are: 2nd – Webb Simpson (Wyndham Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship), 3rd – Scott Stallings (The Greenbrier Classic) and 4th – Brandt Snedeker (RBC Heritage). Additionally, Martin Laird and Justin Rose, who finished in a group of six players T5, also recorded victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard and the BMW Championship, respectively.
Gary Woodland became just the second player (Carl Pettersson – 2005) in the 11-year history of the Transitions Championship to make the event their first victory on the PGA TOUR. He joined John Huston (2000) and Retief Goosen (2003) as the only players to win in their first appearance at the Transitions Championship.
With his victory last year at the age of 26 years, 9 months and 27 days old, Gary Woodland became the second-youngest winner in Transitions Championship history. Sean O’Hair won the 2008 event at the age of 25 years, 6 months and 28 days old.
Perhaps the key to Woodland’s victory in 2011 was his putting, taking only 23 total putts in his final round 67. During the final round, Woodland was 17-of-17 on putts from 20 feet or less.
Brian Gay is the only player to compete in all previous 11 installments of the Transitions Championship and he is in the field again this year. His best finish was a T4 in 2007.
K.J. Choi (2002 and 2006) and Retief Goosen (2003 and 2009) are the only multiple winners of the
Transitions Championship and both are in the field this week. Choi nearly won for a third time, finishing runner-up to Jim Furyk in 2010.
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