One of Santa Clarita's most popular event has a long
As we inch closer and closer to the AT&T Champions
Classic at the Valencia Country Club, the excitement is building among golf fans.
Today, the pros are hitting the links with local residents
as the second day of the pro-am moves forward.
Friday at 10:00 a.m.,
the tournament officially starts, and runs through Sunday afternoon when a
winner will be announced. Golfers add up their total strokes at the end of each
day's round, and the lowest cumulative total over the three-day tournament wins the largest cash prize.
Here's some fun facts about the Champions tour, and the local
- The 2009 season is the 30th in Champions Tour history.
This Champions Tour stop in Los Angeles
is celebrating its 20th Anniversary.
There are 15 World Golf Hall of Fame members who are
currently active on the Champions Tour (denotes the 9 who are playing this week):
Isao Aoki, Bob Charles, Ben Crenshaw, Raymond Floyd, Hubert Green, Hale Irwin, Tom
Kite, Bernhard Langer, Larry Nelson, Greg Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price,
Curtis Strange, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson.
These 15 Hall of Fame members account for 48 Major
Championships, 266 PGA Tour victories, 188
Champions Tour titles and over 354 International wins.
Jay Haas won the 2008 Charles Schwab Cup Championship. His
best finish in three tries at the AT&T Champions Classic was last year when
he finished fourth.
In 2008, the Par 4 6th at Valencia CC was ranked the 8th toughest
on the Champions Tour, playing to a scoring average of 4.451. The seven holes
ranked before it and the six holes ranked after it were all on courses hosting
Tom Purtzer led the Champions Tour in Driving Distance in
2008, with an average of 295.5 yards. He has won twice (2003, '07) at Valencia
CC, one of the longest courses on the Champions Tour.
Bernhard Langer led the Champions Tour in scoring average in
2008, with an average score of 69.65 over 66 rounds. In his first AT&T
Champions Classic last year, he finished T5, shooting 71-68-72 = 211.
The lowest 18-hole score at Valencia CC in the tournament is
64 (8-under-par) held by five players. Hale Irwin was the most recent in 2007.
The lowest 54-hole score at Valencia CC is 202
(14-under-par) by Gil Morgan in 2004.
- Five players have shot a 30 on the front nine at VCC.
- Tom Kite shot a 29 (-7) on the back nine at VCC in 2006.
In 8 previous events at Valencia CC, the AT&T Champions
Classic has come down to a playoff three times: 2002, 2007 and 2008.
When Denis Watson won last year's event, he broke a string
of 12 consecutive years in which the winner's name had only three letters in
it: Gil Morgan (1996, '97, 2004), Joe Inman (1998, '99 and 2000), Jim Colbert
(2001), Tom Kite (2002, '06), Tom Purtzer (2003, '07) and Des Smyth (2005).
Former winners in this year's event include: defending
champion Denis Watson, Tom Purtzer, Tom Kite, Gil Morgan and Jim Colbert.
Playing at Valencia CC for the first time as members of the
Champions Tour are: 1987 Masters winner Larry Mize, 1991 Masters winner Ian
Woosnam, 1983 PGA Championships winner Hal Sutton, 1985 British Open winner and
1988 Masters Champion Sandy Lyle, along with PGA Tour winners Joey Sindelar,
Dan Forsman, Ken Green, Blaine McCallister and John Morse. PGA Tour vets Robert
Thompson and Steve Thomas are also making their first appearances.
The "Black Knight" Gary
Player is back at Valencia CC for the first time since 2002. At 73 years old,
Player has bettered his age five times this season.