|TOM WATSON HOPES TO CONJURE UP MORE OF HIS BRITISH OPEN MAGIC AT 2010 TOSHIBA CLASSIC, MARCH 1-7|
TOM WATSON HOPES TO CONJURE UP MORE
Defending Classic Champion Eduardo Romero Also Among List of Early Commitments
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Feb. 8, 2010 - Tom Watson's runner-up performance at the 2009 British Open at age 59 was the most compelling story from any golf tournament played last year. Once again, Watson will bring his fame and world-class game to the 2010 Toshiba Classic, March 1-7 at Newport Beach Country Club.
The $1.7 million Toshiba Classic, the only Southern California event on the Champions Tour, awards a $255,000 winner's check and will be televised on Golf Channel on Friday, March 5 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. PST and Saturday and Sunday, March 6-7, from 3:30-6 p.m. PST.
Had Watson pulled off the win at last year's British Open, it might have gone down as the most remarkable victory in PGA TOUR history. Aside from becoming the oldest major champion in the history of golf, Watson would have done so less than a year after undergoing left hip replacement surgery.
Watson has already started 2010 with a bang with two wins (one official Tour win) in Hawaii, winning the Wendy's Champions Skins Game before besting Fred Couples in a final-round duel at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai to gain his 13th Champions Tour title and his first since turning 60 in September. Watson became the 15th player to win on the Champions Tour at age 60 or older. He also finished with a 68 at the European PGA Tour Dubai Desert Classic for a tie for eighth place.
"It is a tremendous benefit to have Tom Watson return to the Toshiba Classic," Toshiba Classic Tournament Executive Director Jeff Purser said. "Like any golf fan, I was glued to my television during the British. Many could not believe what was happening in Scotland but, being around the Champions Tour and following the players so closely, I am acutely aware of the skills that Champions Tour players possess. Tom's British Open performance proves that the Champions Tour is full of players who can compete and play at the sport's highest level."
Argentina's Eduardo Romero also committed to the Toshiba Classic, ready to defend his 2009 title. Last year, Romero shot a final-round, 3-under-par 68, rolling in four birdies on the first six holes on the back nine to become the fourth international (non-U.S.) player to win the Toshiba Classic. Romero's winning total of 11-under-par 202 gave him his fourth victory in his last 10 Champions Tour starts, fifth Champions Tour win overall and his 100th professional triumph worldwide.
The Toshiba Classic also received early commitments from World Golf Hall of Famers Isao Aoki, Hale Irwin (the Toshiba Classic's only two-time winner, in 1998 and 2002), Tom Kite, Larry Nelson, Nick Price and Lanny Wadkins, as well as players with Orange County ties like Corona del Mar resident John Cook (runner-up in the 2009 Charles Schwab Cup standings) and former Mission Viejo resident Mark O'Meara, a 2009 Toshiba Classic runner-up.
Others in the Toshiba Classic field include a trio of accomplished Champions Tour rookies - La Quinta resident Fred Couples, Oxnard native Corey Pavin and Paul Azinger. The three players have accounted for 42 PGA TOUR titles and three majors.
Azinger, the 1993 PGA Championship winner, captained the 2008 United States Ryder Cup team to its first triumph over Europe since 1999. Pavin, the 1995 U.S. Open champion, will assume Azinger's duties at this year's Ryder Cup in Wales this fall. In October, 1992 Masters champ Couples captained the U.S. Presidents Cup team to victory over the Internationals in San Francisco.
Watson, a 1988 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee, is set to make his fifth Toshiba Classic appearance. He shot 4-under-par 209 and tied for 22nd place last year. He also played the Toshiba Classic from 2001-03, debuting with a tie for 12th place and recording his best Classic finish in 2002, when he tied for 10th place. March's Toshiba Classic will be his second Champions Tour start of the year and first start on the circuit in six weeks.
All told, Watson owns 39 PGA TOUR titles - highlighted by wins at the 1977 and 1981 Masters, 1982 U.S. Open and the 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983 British Open - and 13 Champions Tour titles, including majors at the 2001 Senior PGA Championship, the 2003, 2005 and 2007 Senior British Open and the 2003 JELD-WEN Tradition. In 2003, he won the Charles Schwab Cup, Champions Tour Player of the Year Award, Arnold Palmer Award (money list champion) and Byron Nelson Trophy Award (low scoring average).
Watson is an honorary member of the Royal & Ancient GC of St. Andrews in 1999, joining fellow Americans Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, former President George Bush, Bobby Jones and Gene Sarazen.
Daily tickets for the Toshiba Classic are $20 if purchased in advance and are $25 at the gate. Season clubhouse badges providing admission to the grounds and clubhouse for practice rounds and the tournament are $100. All tickets, including corporate ticket packages, can be obtained by calling 949-660-1001 or visiting www.ToshibaClassic.com.
The Toshiba Classic's lead charity and operator is Hoag Hospital Foundation. During the last 12 years, the Toshiba Classic has generated more than $12.1 million for charity, the most on the Champions Tour. Hoag Hospital Foundation also received the inaugural PGA Champions Tour Charity of the Year Award in 1998.
Toshiba Classic supporters can congregate online and expand the tournament's fan base through its official fan pages on Facebook (www.facebook.com, search "Toshiba Classic"), and Twitter (www.twitter.com/ToshibaClassic). Register to become a fan or follower of the Toshiba Classic at each fan page, meet and chat with new friends and golf fans, and stay up to date on all tournament and player information. Tournament information, statistics, activities and updates are also available at the tournament's official web site, www.ToshibaClassic.com.
The Toshiba Classic