Shaun Micheel, Bob May, Tim O’Neal headline list of interesting names at 2023 PGA Tour Champions Qualifying Tournament

There are 78 different stories in Scottsdale this week. Here are a few of the interesting ones.

The final stage of the 2023 PGA Tour Champions Qualifying Tournament is this week at TPC Scottsdale.

The Champions course will host 78 players in four rounds concluding on Friday. The field includes a major champion and an NCAA champion.

In all, five players will earn their 2023 tour cards and be fully exempt into the 16 open, full-field PGA Tour Champions events (which do not include the majors).

Those who finish in spots six through 30 and ties are eligible to apply for PGA Tour Champions Associate Membership, which allows them the chance to enter 2023 event qualifiers.

There are 78 different stories in Scottsdale this week. Here are a few of the interesting ones.

Steven Alker continues amazing PGA Tour Champions run, wins 2022 Charles Schwab Cup

To think it all started at a Monday qualifier 15 months ago.

PHOENIX — To think it all started at a Monday qualifier 15 months ago.

Thirty-two events and $4,710,612 later, Steven Alker has reached new heights. On Sunday, he clinched his first PGA Tour Champions series title at Phoenix Country Club, punctuating his win with a big smile and a fist pump on the 18th green.

Alker shot a final-round 68 to finish solo third, which was a whopping eight shots back of tournament winner Padraig Harrington, but still good enough to clinch the series title for the first time. With a Harrington win, any finish inside the top five would have been good enough for Alker.

“Amazing. Honestly, just having friends and family and the support here this week has been amazing,” said Alker, who has lived in Arizona since 2002. “Playing with Padraig today, it was kind of difficult because ‘Do I chase him, do I protect?’ … I just tried to play my game as good as I could, but he played amazing and just glad to be champion.”

This moment is the culmination of a rapid-fire success rate for Alker since joining the senior circuit.

In 2021, 18 days after he turned 50 which made him eligible for the PGA Tour Champions, Alker flew to Seattle looking for an outside shot at getting into the Boeing Classic. He got in thanks a strong Monday qualifier score, a rout he had to take because he had no status on the tour.

He hasn’t played in a PGA Tour event since 2017 and he spent the majority of his pro career slogging through Korn Ferry Tour events. According to Harrington, Alker grinding on the Korn Ferry Tour into his late 40s is what most likely set the table for his amazing run now.

2022 Charles Schwab Cup Championship
Steven Alker holds the trophy after winning the 2022 Charles Schwab Cup. (Photo: Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK)

“The fact is he was always a nice player,” Harrington said Wednesday before the championship got started. “He’s probably as physically fit now as he was 20 years ago, so he hasn’t gone backwards. The players who tend to do nicely out here are the ones who are still trying to be competitive from 45 years of age to 50 years of age. Those are the ones. You can’t give the game up for five years or eight years or 10 years and hope to come out here and find it again, you know, unless you were a world-class player. You’ve got to keep being competitive and he did that. That’s why you’re seeing his good play now. He was still on the Korn Ferry Tour when he was 49 years of age. There’s not a lot of guys at 49 who could do that.”

Rounds of 67-73-67 in his first Champions event netted him a tie for seventh in the 2021 Boeing Classic, and that would be it for his Monday qualifying days as that top-10 finish earned him a spot in the field the next week at the Ally Challenge, where he finished solo third. From there, he kept getting into more Champions events because he kept stacking up top-10s.

In fact, he posted six straight top-10s and earned a spot in the 2021 Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. In the second of the two playoff events last year, Alker found victory lane at the TimberTech Championship. A second-place finish at Phoenix Country Club the following week capped a whirlwind stretch and put $1,146,207 into his bank account.

The calendar change to 2022 didn’t slow him down. Alker won three times before June 1 and then won for a series-tying fourth time to open the Schwab playoffs.

By the time they got to Phoenix, Alker had a commanding lead in the points race. Even Harrington’s blistering weekend scores of 62 and 65 had no bearing on the steady Alker. He didn’t make a bogey until the 12th hole Sunday. He had another one on 13 but then birdied the 14th. A birdie on the 16th was his 21st of the week.

Alker’s third-place finish is worth $210,000, bringing his 2022 total $3,544,425 and career total to $4,710,632.

“Just a lot of hard yards. It’s just, you know, I’ve played everywhere, I’ve played everywhere and I think that kind of helped today in a way just playing the PGA Tour and Australasia and Asia and Korn Ferry,” he said. “I’ve played everywhere. It’s been an amazing journey and just to be here and to have this opportunity has been amazing.”

Now it’s time to celebrate, but how?

“I like red wine,” he said. “I don’t want to mix drinks tonight, won’t be a good idea, but we’ll have a couple. It will probably sink in a bit more tomorrow, but yeah, this is neat, it’s so cool.”

Alker will also collect $1 million in bonus money for winning the Schwab Cup series title, money that will be paid out as a lump sum deposit into a Schwab brokerage account.

  • First place: $1 million
  • Second: $500,000
  • Third: $300,000
  • Fourth: $200,000
  • Fifth: $100,000

For winning the tournament, Harrington earned the first-place prize of $440,000, bringing his season total to $3,293,255.

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Padraig Harrington wins Charles Schwab Cup Championship in record fashion for fourth PGA Tour Champions victory

Harrington tied a 32-year-old record held by Jack Nicklaus and broke a 10-year-old mark of Tom Lehman.

PHOENIX — It was a banner day for Padraig Harrington, who backed up his Saturday 62 with a Sunday 65 to win the 2022 Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Along the way, he broke a 10-year-old mark held by Tom Lehman and tied a 32-year-old record held by Jack Nicklaus.

Harrington won the tournament by seven shots over Alex Cejka and eight over Cup series champion Steven Alker.

Harrington’s 27 under total tied the mark set by Nicklaus in the 1990 Bridgestone Senior Players Championship. His total of 257 breaks Tom Lehman’s mark of 258, recorded at the 2012 Charles Schwab Cup Championship held that year at Desert Mountain Club (Cochise) in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“I didn’t realize that. It’s nice to hold the record with Jack Nicklaus, I believe he’s done it as well. Kind of glad I didn’t beat him,” he said.

Harrington started the final round with a five-shot lead but margin of victory wasn’t a factor in the points race. He only had an outside shot at winning the season-long title because he needed to win and also have Steven Alker finish outside the top five.

Alker, steady all week with scores of 65-64-68-68, finished solo third, more than enough to clinch his first championship.

Harrington’s Sunday was highlighted with a long putt from off the green on the par-3 15th hole.

A huge smile crossed his face after his ball found the cup, which Alker fetched out of the cup for him, and that got him to 26 under. An ensuing birdie on the par-3 16th hole got him to 27 under. He then parred the final hole.

Harrington had one of the only three eagles made the entire week (1st hole Saturday) and he only had two bogeys over 72 holes. His first full season on the Champions circuit also included a major at the U.S. Senior Open and more than $3 million in earnings.

“I’m not a person when I’m on the golf course, I hate watching my opposition and wishing them bad,” Harrington said. “I much prefer a rising tide lifts all ships, so I just didn’t want to get involved in what Steve needed to do and just focused on what I needed to do. I think we both played well the three days we played together and we both played well every day.”

Alker now has a second and a third in two appearances in the finale. Overall, he has five wins and 27 top-10s in his first 33 starts on the tour.

Cejka rode an eagle-birdie-birdie start to slide into second. His eagle on the par-5 opening hole was just the third eagle from the entire field; Thongchai Jaidee eagled the 18th on Friday. Cejka shot 63-65 over the weekend.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, Lee Janzen and Stephen Ames tied for fourth at 16 under. Retief Goosen was solo seventh at 15 under.

Seven days after earning his 44th PGA Tour Champions title, Bernhard Langer finished tied for 17th at 7 under. His 45th win will have to wait until at least January when the 2023 season starts at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Hawaii.

A look at the money

For winning the tournament, Harrington earned the first-place prize of $440,000. That brings his season total to $3,293,255.

Alker’s third-place finish is worth $210,000, bringing his 2022 total to $3,564,425. Alker’s career earnings on the senior circuit is now $4,710,632.

But wait, there’s more. Alker will also collect a $1 million bonus for winning the Schwab Cup series title. That will be paid out as a lump sum deposit into a Schwab brokerage account.

  • First place: $1,000,000
  • Second: $500,000
  • Third: $300,000
  • Fourth: $200,000
  • Fifth: $100,000

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Padraig Harrington opens huge lead at Charles Schwab Cup Championship, buys beer for a few fans along the way

Padraig Harrington could win by 10 shots this week in Phoenix and it might not matter.

PHOENIX — Padraig Harrington could win by 10 shots this week and it might not matter.

Harrington, second in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship points race, lit up Phoenix Country Club on Saturday, bombing his way around the 6,860-yard, par-71 course to the tune of a 9-under 62 to take a sizable five-shot lead after 54 holes.

Harrington has put himself in great position to win the tournament but to win the series title, he needs to win and have Alker finish outside the top five.

“Today was a good day. I think I’ve been playing pretty solid all the way through and just waiting for a good day like today,” Harrington said.

Alker was a little more direct with his assessment.

“Padraig kicked my ass today, that’s basically what happened,” he said.

The problem for Harrington, who is at 21 under, is that Alker shot a 3-under 68 on Saturday to get to 16 under, and while he’s still five shots back of the tournament lead, he’s still ahead of everyone but Harrington. In other words, as gaudy as Harrington’s lead is now, the steady Alker is now just 18 holes away from his first series championship.

Harrington jump started his round with an eagle on the first hole, just the second eagle the entire field has produced over 54 holes. Starting the day a shot back of Alker, Harrington quickly had the outright lead.

Birdies on Nos. 5 and 7 helped him get to the turn in 32. On the 11th hole, Harrington made birdie to get to 17 under for a three-shot lead. He then poured in a curling left-to-right putt from about 12 feet to get to 18 under. That birdie on No. 12 was made possible after Harrington converted a ridiculous second shot over some tall trees.

Even a stray tee shot on the 14th hole didn’t faze Harrington. Hitting from the rough off the right side from 111 yards out and just a few feet from the perimeter fence, Harrington stuffed his approach, then made yet another birdie putt to be the first one in the field to get to 20 under for the week.

On 18, Harrington had his fifth eagle putt of the day, this one for a 61, but he missed left. Still, his two-foot birdie gave him a 62, the tournament’s best score of the week. It also got him to 21 under.

“I think I’m better than, you know, I’ve been in past years,” Harrington said. “I’m bold, I do my own thing, which has never been my strength. I’ve always been a better chaser than leader. We’ll go and see tomorrow what happens. I’ve certainly given myself a few options. You know, five ahead, so hopefully I’ll go out there and play well and can wave at the crowds which if it doesn’t happen that way, well, we’ll have to dig deep and find another way of winning.”

Alker’s birdie on 18 capped a bogey-free 68. In fact, he’s bogey-free through 54 holes.

“I’ve got a lot of chasing to do now to win the tournament, but yeah, get a good night’s sleep and we’ll be all right,” he said.

Brian Gay shot a 66 on Saturday and is solo third. He’s six back and not counting himself out just yet.

“[Padraig’s] playing great, obviously. I didn’t really pay much attention to the scores, and then late in the round my caddie said he was 20 so he’s still rolling,” Gay said. “So, you never know, just go out and try to play well and make as many birdies as you can and see what happens.”

For about an hour Saturday, Alex Cejka held the honor of round of the week at Phoenix Country Club after his 8-under 63. He’s in solo fourth at 14 under. Retief Goosen is solo fifth at 13 under after shooting a third-round 68.

Alker and Harrington entered the season finale as the only two golfers who had a shot to claim the Cup.

Beer time

There was a light moment on the 16th hole Saturday. Harrington stepped up to the tee box, but “there was a bunch of guys who were sitting in the corner of the grandstand on 16, and the shadows late in the day were just coming across,” Harrington explained. “They were moving. They wouldn’t know, so I needed them to move, which they’d been sitting there I assume all day waiting for this; I hope they were waiting for me all day. I got them to move.

“They still got a good view, but I did buy them a beer afterwards.”

Langer now a long shot

Bernhard Langer entered the week chasing a different kind of history. A week ago, he won his 44th title on the Champions tour; a 45th would tie Hale Irwin’s all-time Champions mark, set 15 years ago.

After opening 66-69, Langer shot a 1-under 70 Saturday and will start the final round at 8 under, 13 shots back. His record-tying win will have to wait until at least January in the 2023 season opener at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Hawaii.

Prize money this week

First place at the Schwab Cup is $440,000. Whoever wins the series title banks a $1 million bonus. In fact, the top five finishers in the final Cup standings will earn a lump sum deposit into a Schwab brokerage account:

  • First place: $1,000,000
  • Second: $500,000
  • Third: $300,000
  • Fourth: $200,000
  • Fifth: $100,000

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Steven Alker and Padraig Harrington, 1-2 in the points race, are 1-2 on the leaderboard at Charles Schwab Cup Championship

Steven Alker and Padraig Harrington are separated by just a shot.

PHOENIX — It should come as no surprise that two of the best players on the PGA Tour Champions in 2022 are dominating the field at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

It should also come as no surprise that the golfer who has taken this tour by storm in the last 15 months has put himself in the driver’s seat to claim his first series title.

Steven Alker, tied for the tour lead with four wins this season, including a major at the Senior PGA Championship, came into the playoffs leading the points race. Padraig Harrington, in his first full season on the tour, is No. 2 in points and has won three times, including a major at the U.S. Senior Open.

Once the computers crunched all the numbers, Alker and Harrington were the only ones mathematically alive who could claim the season title. After the two pre-tournament favorites went shot-for-shot on a sunny Friday afternoon at Phoenix Country Club, it’s Alker and Harrington atop the leaderboard.

Harrington, playing in the third-to-last group in the second round, posted a birdie-birdie finish to shoot a 64, tied for low round of the week. He is at 12 under after 36 holes. For Harrington to claim the Cup, however, he needs to win but he also he needs Alker to finish outside the top five.

That’s starting to look like a long shot.

“Steve is relentless,” Harrington told Golf Channel after his round.

Alker was tied for the lead after 18 holes and after a 7-under 64, he holds the outright lead. Alker opened his round Friday with a pair of birdies, took his first outright lead with another birdie on No. 5. For the next couple hours, he would share the lead with Harrington a couple more times. Birdies on 15 and 17 got him to 13 under for the week so far. Alker has 13 birdies over two days and has yet to bogey a hole.

“I know what I’ve got to do, the numbers are all there. It’s kind of black and white. I just try and put myself in position to win a golf tournament, that’s big for me,” Alker said. “I’ve got to keep hammering those birdies out.”

Alker, a New Zealander who moved to Scottsdale in 2002, has his family following him this week, including his wife Tanya, son Ben and daughter Skye. That rooting section will be down one Saturday as Skye, a member of the Fountain Hills High School cross country team, will be competing in the state championships.

“Go Falcons,” Alker said.

Alker and Harrington are the only two golfers who can win the Cup this week. Even if Harrington wins this tournament, he needs Alker to finish outside the top five.

What about Langer?

Bernhard Langer, the ageless wonder who at 65 won for the 44th time on the Champions tour last week, has posted scores of 66 and 69 and is tied for eighth at 7 under. A 45th win would tie Hale Irwin’s mark set 15 years ago, but he’ll start Saturday’s third round six shots off the pace.

Lots of birdies but just one eagle

The quirky stat of the week after 36 holes: it took until late in the day Friday for the first eagle to be finally recorded.

Thongchai Jaidee rolled in a birdie putt on the par-5 18th hole to give him a second-round 68 and move him into the top 10. It’s the only eagle after 1,188 holes of competition. There have been 284 birdies so far this week.

What’s on the line?

First place this week is good for $440,000. The winner of the Cup race banks a cool $1 million bonus.

In fact, the top five finishers in the Cup standings will earn a lump sum deposit into a Schwab brokerage account:

First place: $1,000,000

Second: $500,000

Third: $300,000

Fourth: $200,000

Fifth: $100,000

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Photos: 2022 Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Phoenix Country Club

The Schwab Cup is the only 72-hole non-major tournament on the Champions schedule.

The 2022 PGA Tour Champions season comes to a close at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Phoenix Country Club, measures 6,860 yards and plays to a par 71 this week.

Outside of the five majors on the 28-event Champions schedule, the Schwab Cup is the only other 72-hole tournament.

The club was established in 1899 with 75 members and was home to a log-cabin clubhouse, a nine-hole layout and tennis courts. The club moved to a second location a few miles north for a few years and then in 1919, upgraded to its permanent home in central Phoenix.

Check out some photos from the 2022 Charles Schwab Cup Championship, won by Padraig Harrington. Meanwhile, Steven Alker’s third-place finish was enough for him to win the series points title.

John Huston needs just two hours, 17 minutes to shoot a 6-under 65 at Charles Schwab Cup Championship

John Huston’s caddie has seen this act before.

PHOENIX — John Huston’s caddie has seen this act before.

Travis, in his first full year caddying for his dad, laughed when asked about their two-hour, 17-minute first round Thursday in which he posted a 6-under 65.

“He’s well-known for how fast he plays and our whole family is that way, so it’s a good way to be,” Travis said.

There were 36 golfers who qualified for the PGA Tour Champions season finale at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship but only 33 arrived at Phoenix Country Club this week.

Because of the odd number, Huston, who was the last golfer to qualify in the field, went off alone at 10:20 a.m. local time (12:20 p.m. ET). He quickly birdied the first two holes and he was off and running. OK, not quite running but he was quickly making his way around the golf course.

“There’s not that many guys that like to get around, but there’s a few,” John said. “It was pretty nice just to play at my own pace.”

He’s making his first appearance in the Schwab Cup final, something he might not have imagined after undergoing two brain surgeries, the first of which he stayed awake for, in 2015 and 2016.

Huston has a neurological condition called cervical dystonia which causes the neck muscles to contract involuntarily, which in turn can force the head to twist or turn to one side, or tilt forward or backwards. It is also painful.

Huston, 61, said he first started noticing symptoms about 15 years ago but wasn’t diagnosed till he was 52.

“I can’t believe I’m still playing,” he told the PGATour.com. He also had neck fusion surgery in November 2021 and didn’t get his 2022 season going until May. A late-season charge of five top-25 finishes in his last six events put him on a path for Phoenix, where he posted seven birdies in his opening round, including one on the par-5 closing hole. That final putt dropped at 12:37 p.m. local time, just in time for a late lunch.

“The faster he plays, the better I’ve seen him play. I kind of expected him to play pretty good,” Travis said.

Even with his putting, there’s no time wasted.

“He says while he’s walking up to the green he’s already reading it so he already has an idea when he gets there. He doesn’t tend to go around the other side or anything. He just looks from behind and goes. It’s worked pretty good.”

John said it’s not the quickest competitive round he’s ever played.

“I played a round faster than this on the regular Tour, but it was a Sunday get out-of-town round,” he said, proclaiming “I think it was 1:40-something.”

Was a marker made available today?

“They didn’t ask. They probably knew,” Huston said, smiling.

If his scores holds up, he’ll go from the first one out Thursday to playing in the final group Friday.

“Maybe they’ll go the other way and let me play by myself in the last group,” he joked.

Huston will indeed be in the last group, where he’ll play alongside Stephen Ames, who also shot a 65.

Series leader Steven Alker was the last golfer on the course when he made a short par putt to also card a 65, which forged a three-way tie for the lead.

“I’m pleased. One down, three to go, pleased with my start,” Alker said. “The golf course is totally different to the pro-am yesterday with the rain and the wind. Just have to stay patient and just take your birdies when you could.”

Bernard Langer and Padraig Harrington are tied for fourth after shooting 5-under 66s.

“I’m in a good place in the tournament. I’m in a bad place in the Schwab Cup. That’s the way it is,” said Harrington, who is second in the series points race. However, for him to win the Cup championship, he needs to win and he needs Alker to finish outside the top five.

“Steven [Alker] played very nicely today, very steady. Doesn’t look like, you know, he’s going to do much wrong between here and the end of the week going on today, so it would be hard to see him not finishing in the top five.”

Friday’s second round starts at 12:10 p.m. ET with the final group starting at 2:50 p.m. ET.

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A numbers game: At 65, Bernhard Langer can tie PGA Tour Champions win mark of 45 in season finale at Charles Schwab Cup Championship

Just a week after earning win No. 44, Bernhard Langer can claim No. 45.

PHOENIX — Where to even begin with Bernhard Langer.

His age? He turned 65 in August and became the oldest player to win on the PGA Tour Champions at the TimberTech Championship last week.

Shooting his age? Langer has shot or beaten his age six times now. Last week, he shot a 63 in the second round to beat his age by two shots. In 2021, Langer shot a 64 on his 64th birthday and afterward said he was serenaded three separate times by fans singing “Happy Birthday” on that Friday in Michigan.

Champions tour titles? Langer is back at Phoenix Country Club a year removed from claiming his record-setting sixth series championship. That’s four more than Hale Irwin, Tom Watson, Jay Haas, Lauren Roberts and Tom Lehman, all tied for second on the list. He is fifth in the points this time around but has been mathematically eliminated from winning a seventh title.

Career Champions victories? When Langer won last Sunday, he did so in runaway fashion, posting a six-shot rout to get within one of Irwin’s all-time Champions mark of 45.

“It’s amazing. Like last week, I mean, beat his age again,” said Steven Alker, who leads the series points race. “He just keeps going like an energizer, it’s just amazing. And there’s lots to learn from that, too. Just the perseverance, he just keeps going. It was impressive, it really was.”

It was 15 years ago that Langer won his first Champions event, which came about ten months after Irwin won his last.

Does it feel like 15 years already on this tour? “In a way it does and in another way it feels like time flew by, so it’s weird,” Langer said.

He’s won every year on tour and there were only two seasons where Langer only won once. In 2017, he won seven times.

Talk about consistency.

“That is Bernhard Langer to a T,” said Jerry Kelly. “He’s just always going to be there. He’s battled some injuries the last couple years, you know, and he still won the Cup last year. Yeah, it’s beyond words for me.”

Langer won just three times during his PGA Tour career, but two of his wins came with a green jacket, as he won the Masters in 1985 and 1993. Only eight golfers have won the Masters more than he has. In 2020, when they held the Masters in November, Langer became the oldest player to make the cut at Augusta at the age of 63 years, 2 months, 18 days old.

Then there’s the money. Langer has won $65 million in on-course earnings, with $33 million coming on the senior circuit. First place is worth $440,000 at the Schwab Cup finale, an amount that would push him over the $34 million mark.

Set aside the trophies, the money, the accolades. Why is he still playing golf week in and week out?

“It’s the love of the game and competing at the highest level with the best players my age,” he said. It never gets old teeing it up? “Very seldom. No, it doesn’t.”

Langer and Kelly are in the second-to-last group Thursday. They tee off at 2:50 p.m. ET. The final group is Alker and Padraig Harrington, who are Nos. 1-2 in the points. They tee off at 3 p.m. ET.

For Harrington to win the championship, he needs to win the tournament and he needs Alker to finish outside the top five.

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Angel Cabrera sentenced to more jail time, says ‘prison has done me good’

“He says prison has done him well. And that he needed it and boy do I know that.” — Charlie Epps on Cabrera

It could potentially be a few more years before former two-time major champion Angel Cabrera tees it up again.

Cabrera was convicted of assault for a second time on Monday, according to Agence France Presse. The 53-year-old, who is serving time in a prison in his native Argentina, was sentenced to an additional two years and four months of prison time for assaulting Micaela Escudero, a former girlfriend.

He already was serving time for assaulting, threatening and harassing Cecilia Torres Mana, who was Cabrera’s partner between 2016 and 2018.

“Many say prison is bad, but it’s not the case, prison has done me good,” Cabrera said at the trial, according to local press.

Angel Cabrera watches a bunker shot as his coach Charlie Epps looks on during a practice round at the 2011 British Open at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England. ( Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Charlie Epps, Cabrera’s longtime instructor and friend, however, said that he and Cabrera’s supporters are encouraged that his sentence could be reduced to just one more year for good behavior.

Read: Charlie Epps dishes on why his former student is serving time in prison

“He says prison has done him well. And that he needed it and boy do I know that,” said Epps, speaking via phone from this week’s PGA Tour event in his hometown of Houston. “First year he was embarrassed and didn’t want any company but now this past year he’s accepted a few visits from his friends and, and they see he’s well, they see him, a guy that has learned from this…He did a couple of dumb things that he should know (not to do) and he repents – that alcoholism was such a wicked disease.”

Epps said that Cabrera, who last competed on the Champions Tour at the Pure Insurance Open in September 2020, still dreams of playing golf when he is released from jail.

“Hopefully, when he ever gets his stuff together and gets out, he’ll be welcomed back by the senior tour. There’s been cases before people get in trouble and they live for another day. So, I’m praying for that,” he said.

Cabrera, 53, is losing what are considered to be some of the peak years for players on PGA Tour Champions. He won the 2007 U.S. Open and the 2009 Masters and 53 professional tournaments worldwide.

“He’s a strong dude,” Epps said. “It took him seven years to get on Tour and, you know, (age) 37, when he won his first major, so he’s got a lot of stuff that a lot of people don’t have. He’s got that internal fortitude and I think it’d be a helluva story once he gets out. I’m gonna back him as much as I can.”

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5 things to know ahead of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the PGA Tour Champions 2022 season finale

There will be new champions crowned in 2022, as neither Phil Mickelson nor Bernhard Langer can repeat.

PHOENIX — The 28-event PGA Tour Champions schedule crosses the finish line this week.

But there will be no repeat champions at Phoenix Country Club in 2022.

Just like the PGA Tour, the Champions circuit has a three-event playoff to determine its season champion.

Unlike the PGA Tour, where the winner of the finale at the Tour Championship also stakes claim to the season title, the PGA Tour Champions finale generally produces two winners. In 2021, Phil Mickelson won the 72-hole tournament, while Bernhard Langer earned his sixth Charles Schwab Cup series title.

In 2022, there will be no title defenses. Fan favorite Mickelson won’t be back to the tournament and Langer is too far back in the points to win the series title.

Nonetheless, the stage is set for an exciting week at Phoenix Country Club. Here are five things to watch for this week.