“I did actually have a three-putt, but I putted from off the green so it wasn’t considered,” he said with a laugh. “It was about an 80-or 90-footer on [hole No.] 16. I was about a foot off the front edge.”
But the statistics didn’t reflect his club choice as Roberts never officially three-putted any of the 72 holes, cruising to a six-stroke victory over Tom Watson.
Roberts claimed one of the PGA Tour’s Champions Tour’s five major championships by firing 13-under-par 276 last October. Next month, the native San Luis Obispo, Calif., will defend his title at the 26th Senior Player’s Championship on Oct. 9-12 in Timonium.
Roberts, 53, used the momentum of last year’s victory to propel him to the Charles Schwab Cup -- the championship of the Champion’s Tour — and currently is seventh in the Cup standings.
And the man whose putting prowess earned him the nickname “Boss of the Moss” is looking for a similar boost this fall at the par-70, 7,037-yard course.
“This thing got me right back in the race last year,” he said. “The biggest thing about it was to go out and play so well with Tom Watson and obviously you had Fred Funk in the last group as well.”
This year’s winner receives $390,000 of a $2.6 million purse, the largest on the tour.
But there’s also plenty for the community.
The Senior Players Championship generated between $15 and $20 million in economic impact, around $500,000 in state income and sales tax and drew more than 1,000 volunteers from across the area last year.
The tournament also focuses on giving back to charities. The event raised about $400,000 for local groups last year, as this year’s beneficiaries are The First Tee of Baltimore, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Union Memorial Hospital and the Baltimore Community Foundation/BGE Community Assistance Fund.
“The underlying goal of any Champions Tour and PGA Tour event is to give back funds to the charities and communities where the events are staged,” Steve Schoenfeld, the tournament’s executive director, said. “We’re certainly no different here in Baltimore as we look to continue this tradition of giving back.”