Star-studded field set for Regions Tradition

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April 30, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.-- Twenty-three major championship winners have officially committed and will be in the field for the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala., on May 2-8.

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Fan favorite Fred Couples, the 2010 Champions Tour Rookie of the Year who posted four wins in his debut season, will be seeking his first victory this year in Birmingham. Couples finished runner-up to Wayne Grady in the 1990 PGA Championship at Shoal Creek.

Tom Lehman and John Cook, Nos. 1 and 2 on the current Charles Schwab Cup standings and both multiple winners this year, are also in the field. They will be joined by every Champions Tour winner this season, excluding Bernhard Langer. Langer, the 2010 Player of the Year, won the ACE Group Classic earlier this season before undergoing thumb surgery in April from which he continues to recover.

Double Charles Schwab Cup points are awarded to the top 10 finishers at major championships, and to all 30 contestants at the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Oct. 31-Nov. 6.

Fred Funk, who won the Tradition last year to join Jack Nicklaus and Gil Morgan as one of only three players to have captured multiple Tradition titles, will experience Shoal Creek for the first time as he attempts to defend his title.

Spectators will also witness eight World Golf Hall of Fame members in action over the four days of competition in the first Champions Tour major of the season, including Birmingham native Hubert Green, Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Larry Nelson, Nick Price, Curtis Strange and Tom Watson.

"We have a terrific collection of players coming to Shoal Creek for the Regions Tradition," said Mike Thompson, tournament chairman. "The State of Alabama will have the opportunity to experience some of the most recognizable names in sport at one of the most prestigious venues in golf."

Grady and World Golf Hall of Fame member Lanny Wadkins, who was runner-up to Lee Trevino in the 1984 PGA Championship, also at Shoal Creek, accepted sponsor exemptions earlier this month. Wadkins has since had to withdraw from the tournament due to a recurring back injury.

"I thought I would be able to play, but I'm not going to be able to walk four rounds," said Wadkins. "I'm disappointed because the course is one of my favorites and I'd give anything to play Shoal Creek. This is really going to be a special event."

Steve Jones, the 1996 U.S. Open Champion who made his Champions Tour debut in last week's unofficial Raphael Division at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, has accepted a sponsor exemption, along with two-time major championship winner Sandy Lyle (1985 British Open, 1988 Masters Tournament) and Bill Glasson, a seven-time winner on the PGA TOUR.

Birmingham native Steve Lowery, who finished tied for seventh at last month's Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, will play in his first Champions Tour major championship in his home state. It will be his eighth Champions Tour start since turning 50 last October.

Champions Tour professionals in the Regions Tradition field account for a total of 485 PGA TOUR wins and 344 Champions Tour victories.

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.

Shoal Creek is a 7,234-yard, par 72, Jack Nicklaus designed layout that has previously hosted the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championship, the 1986 U.S. Amateur Championship and the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.

The Golf Channel will televise the tournament exclusively each of the four days to more than 133 countries, reaching more than 117 million households.

The tournament website is www.RegionsTradition.com.

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