Regions Tradition extends sponsor exemptions
Crenshaw, Pate, Woosnam and Gallagher Jr. set to play
April 15, 2014
- Ben Crenshaw, a two-time Masters champion, is one of four players to receive an exemption. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The 2014 Regions Tradition today announced sponsor invitations to four professionals who have combined for 34 PGA TOUR wins, including four major championships.
World Golf Hall of Fame member and two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, 1991 Masters champion Ian Woosnam, 1976 U.S. Open winner Jerry Pate and five-time PGA TOUR winner Jim Gallagher, Jr. are the players receiving the prestigious invitations extended by Regions Tradition General Chairman Matthew Dent.
“We’re excited to have these four quality athletes join our talented field at the Regions Tradition,” stated Dent. “Ben is a multiple major winner and Hall of Famer, Ian and Jerry have also won majors on the PGA TOUR, and Jim joins each of them as former Ryder Cup participants. They’re a strong addition to our tournament.”
Ten World Golf Hall of Fame members are currently scheduled to compete against defending champion David Frost in the Regions Tradition. Joining Crenshaw are Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Larry Nelson, Nick Price, Curtis Strange and Tom Watson.
Crenshaw won a pair of Masters titles, the first in 1984 and the second in 1995. He played in four Ryder Cup matches for the United States and was the winning captain at Brookline in 1999 when, the night before the singles matches, he famously announced to the assembled media - "I'm a big believer in fate. I have a good feeling about this.” The next day the U.S. team completed an incredible comeback. A noted golf historian and a renowned golf course designer, Crenshaw wrote a book, A Feel for the Game, which reached No. 25 on the New York Times best-seller list in 2001. In 2002, Crenshaw was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Crenshaw played in 11 consecutive Regions Tradition’s, the most recent in 2011 when he finished 69th.
Woosnam has more than 50 wins around the world and was one of the ‘Big Five’ in Europe for many years, competing alongside Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Langer and Lyle. He was a member of eight consecutive European Ryder Cup teams from 1983 to 1997 and was elected as captain for the 2006 Ryder Cup, leading Europe to victory over the U.S. 18½–9½. In 2008, Woosnam won the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit becoming the only person to have won the Order of Merit on both the European Seniors Tour and the regular European Tour. In 2010, he was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame. Woosnam will be making his first appearance at the Regions Tradition.
Pate played golf at the University of Alabama and had a distinguished amateur career, winning the 1974 U.S. Amateur Championship and representing victorious teams at the Walker cup and Eisenhower Trophy. He won eight times on the PGA TOUR, including the 1976 U.S. Open, as well as twice on the Champions Tour. During the years between the two Tours, Pate returned to the University of Alabama to complete his Bachelor of Administrative Science degree. His daughter, Jenni, also received her degree at the same graduation ceremony in 2001. Pate, who is a Shoal Creek member, will make his eighth appearance in the Tradition. A tie for second at the 2004 event is his best result in the tournament.
Gallagher has five PGA TOUR wins. His best finish in a major championship came at the 1992 PGA Championship when he tied for second. He was a member of the victorious 1993 U.S. Ryder Cup team and the 1994 U.S. Presidents Cup team. Gallagher comes from a golfing family – a family selected as the national golf family of the year by the PGA of America in 1995. His father is a career club pro in Indiana, his wife Cissye is a former LPGA professional, sister Jackie and brother Jeff are both touring professionals, and his daughter Mary Langdon is a former Mississippi State Amateur champion. Gallagher’s tie for 44th at last year’s Regions Tradition is his best finish in a Champions Tour major.
This year’s Regions Tradition, the first of five Champions Tour majors this season, takes place at Shoal Creek on May 14-18 with a purse of $2.2 million.
The field will comprise 81 players in a 72-hole stroke-play event. As one of the Champions Tour majors, the double Charles Schwab Cup points awarded to the top-10 finishers in the Regions Tradition will be a critical factor in determining the Charles Schwab Cup champion at the end of the season.
Shoal Creek is a proven venue that has previously hosted the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championship, the 1986 U.S. Amateur Championship, the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, along with the Regions Tradition the past three years. The 7,231-yard, par 72, Jack Nicklaus designed layout provides for an exciting competition as all of the stars on the Champions Tour will compete for the coveted title.
Some of the biggest names in golf, including World Golf Hall of Fame members Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Tom Kite and Tom Watson, are past champions of The Tradition.
Each of the four rounds of the Regions Tradition will be broadcast live on Golf Channel, the exclusive cable provider of the Champions Tour, reaching in excess of 205 countries and territories and more than 145 million households.