Banner Field Begins 22nd Shark Shootout

An impressive field of individuals will meet as partners in Naples this week for the 22nd annual The Shark Shootout. Here are some interesting notes regarding this special group who will compete at Tiburón Golf Club for the tenth straight year.

Kuchar’s Year: Matt Kuchar, who will be making his fourth appearance in Naples, has enjoyed a career season. He finished the year No.1 on the Official PGA Tour Money List, No. 1 in Scoring Average, No. 1 in All-Around statistics and No. 1 in Top-10 finishes with 11. For his accomplishments, he earned the Arnold Palmer Award for earning $4,910,477 and the Vardon Trophy and Byron Nelson Award for his 69.61 adjusted scoring average.

International Flavor: Seven different countries will be represented this week at The Shark Shootout — Australia, Canada, England, Northern Ireland, South Africa, South Korea and United States.

2010 Shark Shootout

Ryder Cup Participants: Ten players coming to Naples participated in the Ryder Cup this year — Darren Clarke, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell, Jeff Overton, Ian Poulter, Steve Stricker and Bubba Watson. McDowell’s singles win clinched victory for the European team while Fowler’s performance in the final four holes of his singles match ignited a near-comeback by the United States team.

First-Time Shootout Participants: Five individuals will be competing in their first Shark Shootout: K.J. Choi, Darren Clarke, Jason Day, Jeff Overton and Mike Weir.

Back Again After All These Years: In addition, David Duval and Davis Love III will be making their first appearance in Naples. In fact, Love has the longest gap between starts in tournament history with 11 years. Love last played in 1998 and finished fourth with partner Brad Faxon. Duval has the second longest stretch between starts (10 years). In his last appearance, Duval won the title with partner Fred Couples in 1999.

2010 Champions: Eight players have won on the PGA Tour and European Tour this year. Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker are two-time winners while Jason Day, Anthony Kim, Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Bubba Watson have each earned one title in the U.S. On the European Tour, McDowell won twice and Poulter added a victory a few weeks ago in Hong Kong. McDowell added his fourth victory of the year Sunday, winning the Chevron World Challenge.

Total # of PGA Tour Victories: As a group, the 24 players in the field have accumulated 155 PGA Tour victories during their respective careers. Greg Norman and Davis Love III lead in individual titles with 20 each.

World Rankings: Eight of the 24 players in the field are currently ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking — Steve Stricker (6), Graeme McDowell (7),  Ian Poulter (10), Matt Kuchar (13), Dustin Johnson (14), Rickie Fowler (26), Anthony Kim (28) and Bubba Watson (30).

Youth Movement: Rickie Fowler, at the age of 21, is now the youngest and second-youngest competitor in Shootout history. Last year, he became the youngest at the age of 20. Prior to that year, Bill Haas was 22 when he competed in 2004, Ryan Moore was 23 in 2005 and Anthony Kim was 22 in 2007.

Using the Driver: Dustin Johnson was ranked third on the Tour in Driving Distance in 2010 with a 308.5 average. Robert Garrigus led the Tour with a 315.5 average off the tee.

Repeat Pairings: Two teams in this year’s Shark Shootout have been paired together prior to this year. Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker will be playing together for the third straight year. Last year, they won and in 2008 finished tied for 8th. Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank will also work together for the third time. This twosome finished second by virtue of a playoff in 2006 and also finished second last year.

Most Partners: Two players in the field have competed with 10 different partners through the years. Mark Calcavecchia, who will be making his 17th start, is one of those. Calcavecchia has only played with four competitors more than once — Steve Elkington, Andrew Magee, Loren Roberts and Woody Austin. Host Greg Norman, will be playing with his 10th different partner this week when he joins Matt Kuchar. Norman has played with the same partner four times — Jack Nicklaus (3), Nick Price (2), Raymond Floyd (2), Steve Elkington (7).

Repeat Performers: Mark Calcavecchia will be making his 17th start in the Shootout — most for any other individual in the field except for Greg Norman, who will be making his 21st start.

Rookie Winners: Only seven players have won The Shark Shootout in their first attempt: Mark O’Meara (1989), Curtis Strange (1989), Fred Couples (1990), Scott McCarron (1997), Hank Kuehne (2003), Rod Pampling (2006) and Woody Austin (2007).

Major Champions: Seven competitors have won major championship titles — David Duval (British Open), Mark Calcavecchia (British Open), Justin Leonard (British Open), Davis Love III (PGA Championship), Graeme McDowell (U.S. Open), Greg Norman (British Open twice) and Mike Weir (Masters Tournament).


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