PGA Tour Champions
How a nearly two-decade-long winless streak could fall (except Phil Mickelson is in the way)
Matt Gogel stands on the 12th tee box during Saturday's second round of the Constellation Furyk & Friends.
Even in golf’s year of the comeback, the dream scenario for Matt Gogel on Sunday at the Constellation Furyk & Friends seems too much to ask for. The journeyman pro is playing on a sponsor’s exemption this week at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla., this being the 12th start in his rookie season on the PGA Tour Champions after turning 50 in February. He sits tied with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Steve Flesch for second, two shots back of Phil Mickelson entering the final round, Lefty having won two of his previous three career starts on the 50-and-older circuit.
Mickelson sports a 67.09 career stroke average in Champions events, and he outpaced Gogel 67-69 after the pair shared the lead with opening 66s on Friday. Presumably, then, if Gogel were to somehow pull out the victory on Sunday, he’d have to shoot at least a 65, a score he’s shot just once in 37 rounds on the Champions Tour.
And yet, if Gogel could somehow do it, he would snap a winless streak to end all winless streaks.
According to the tour, Gogel’s last victory on a professional tour came at the 2002 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Tour officials have done the math and Gogel’s lone career PGA Tour win came 19 years, 8 months and 7 days ago (or 7,189 days). It’s so long ago that Mickelson had yet to win any of his six major titles at the time, Tiger Woods had only won six of his eventual 15.
It is, of course, a long shot considering Gogel’s best finish to date on the PGA Tour Champions is a T-9. That said, 11 other rookies have won in the 2020-21 season not to mention 13 first-time Champions Tour winners.
UPDATE, 5:10 p.m.—Gogel's winless streak will have to come to an end another day. The rookie shot a one-over 73 to finish seven shots back of eventual winner Phil Mickelson. The silver lining? He did still finish with a career best T-7.