Hale Irwin has an affinity for Hawaii. He represented the Kapalua Resort for several years during his career. The 1981 Hawaiian Open at Waialae CC was just one of his 20 TOUR wins. He has eight Champions Tour victories, and three runner-up finishes, in Hawaii. He also has course design projects underway in Hawaii.
Irwin has a record 45 wins on the Champions Tour and his 45th victory came at the 2007 MasterCard Championship at Hualalai.
The Pacific Links Hawaii Championship (Sept. 10-16) will be the 39th official Champions Tour event to be held in Hawaii, and Irwin's 29th in the Aloha State since he became eligible upon turning 50 in 1995. He holds the record for the most victories in a single event on the Champions Tour, winning the Kaanapali Classic (which became the Turtle Bay Championship) six times, five consecutively.
In his first 21 Champions Tour events in Hawaii, Irwin finished either first or second 11 times. During a period from late 2003 to early 2006, Irwin scored 13 consecutive rounds in the 60s in Hawaiian tournaments. He's won a total of $2,446,937 in his 28 events and he's played 5,809 shots and is 226-under par for that stretch -- which equates to a scoring average of 69.15. He's shot 62 of his 84 tournament rounds below par.
His poorest "collect" in the islands came at Turtle Bay in 2006 when he finished down the list and earned $7,500. A year later, on his next visit to Hawaii, he won at Hualalai and earned his biggest check in paradise - $290,000.
"It's hard to put your finger on it," said Irwin, when questioned about his great success in Hawaii. "Other than there's something about the air, the people, in the land. It's sort of like coming home. It's always a treat."
Irwin is also the only player in the 11-year history of the season-long Charles Schwab Cup to claim the trophy at a tournament other than the season-ending event. Significantly, his Cup-clinching victory came in Hawaii, at the 2002 Turtle Bay Championship, which was the 32nd of 35 events that season.
"Hawaii has been great for me during my career, particularly my Champions Tour career," added Irwin. "So any chance I get to go to Hawaii to play golf is great news."
Here's hoping Irwin's trip to the Aloha State in September is again memorable.