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Why the PGA Tour Champions points race is over with two events to play (Hint: Blame Steve Stricker)

October 23, 2023

David Berding

Harrison Frazier claimed his first career PGA Tour Champions title at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic on Sunday, but Steve Stricker proved to be the big winner—and he never had to hit a shot.

After the conclusion of the first of three Charles Schwab Cup playoff events, Stricker holds a 1,909,065-point lead over Steven Alker on the season-long points list. But with only 1,756,000 points available over the last two events, the 56-year-old Wisconsin native has mathematically locked up the title.

“This has been a goal of mine,” Stricker said recently of Charles Schwab Cup. “I've wanted to win this, and I've put every effort into trying to play well.”

Stricker’s massive lead stems from a dominant 2023 season in which he won six times (including three majors), finished second five more times and posted 15 top-10s overall in 16 starts. His $3,986,063 in earnings is the most for a player in a single season on the PGA Tour Champions. (Stricker topped $4 million in earnings in just four times during 28 seasons on the PGA Tour.)

The big cushion allowed him to skip the first playoff event in Richmond, Va., at the Country Club of Virginia, where Frazier birdied his last hole for a closing 69 that forced a playoff with Richard Green, then made an eight-foot birdie on the first extra hole for the victory.

And while Stricker could also pass on next week’s TimberTech Championship and the Charles Schwab Championship season finale Nov. 9-12, he is expected to play at least once.

While Stricker had 11 senior victories prior to 2023, this is the first season in which he’s claimed the Charles Schwab Cup. Yet his success on the senior circuit has Stricker thinking about playing more on the PGA Tour. His last official individual start was the 3M Open in 2021 after playing at the Zurich Classic in April with Zach Johnson.

“If it takes a couple of tournaments and I play horribly, that may be it,” Stricker said. “But if I play a couple of tournaments and play decent, or play well in one or two of them? I had a chance to win Phoenix two or three years ago.”