Streelman has a million reasons to play on
Monday, February 14, 2011
So, the FedEx Cup’s late season dash for cash is over. The millions have been divided, the pressure released, the emotions calmed. It’s over, right?
Maybe not. For proof, there’s Kevin Streelman. He has, oh, a million reasons to compete in the Tour’s Fall Finish, which begins this week at the Turning Stone Resort Championship at Atunyote Golf Club in Verona, N.Y.
Mainly, he’s there in large part for something called The Kodak Challenge. Chuckle if you’d like, but Streelman and several of his PGA Tour colleagues think this is pretty serious stuff.
“It’s definitely something you thought about when you saw it (early in the season),” he said. “It caught your attention.”
A million bucks can do that. The Kodak Challenge is a seasonlong competition where PGA Tour pros aggregate a total score using one select hole from as many as 24 tournament venues. A player gets to use his best score relative to par on each hole selected, and his best 18 Kodak holes are counted. Think “ringer” score.
To the winner goes a tidy $1 million. Second place doesn’t pay a dime.
Now that Streelman leads the race at 13 under (one stroke ahead of J.J. Henry), he is even more in tune with the promotion. To be eligible for the grand prize, a player must play at least 18 of the holes. Streelman has played 16 holes. When he looked at his Fall Series schedule, he was perhaps going to play the first three – Turning Stone, Las Vegas and Frys.com in Arizona.
“But the (Kodak) hole in Mississippi (Viking Classic) is a par 5 and you have to go to that one,” he says. “Then I added Disney, so I’ll play ’em all,” Streelman said.
Streelman concedes it’s a unique situation. On the 16 Kodak holes he has played, he has 13 birdies and three pars. He says this week’s Kodak hole – the 230-yard 11th at Atunyote Golf Club at Turning Stone Resort – will be a real challenge. “Maybe the toughest hole in the rotation,” he said.
Seven players – Daniel Chopra, Nicholas Thompson, Jason Gore, Jason Bohn, Michael Letzig, Nathan Green and Scott Verplank – sit only two shots back.
The remaining Kodak holes after this week: The 560-yard 16th hole at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas (Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital Open); the 211-yard 16th hole at Grayhawk in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Frys.com Open); the 532-yard, par-5 18th hole at Annandale Golf Course (Viking Classic); and the 485-yard, par-4 17th hole at Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course (Children’s Miracle Network Classic).
And what if there’s a tie? Streelman laughed.
“A playoff at the 17th hole at Disney, under the lights,” he said.
Now that’s a Kodak moment.