AT&T Champions Classic golf tournament will host big talent again this year.Tom Purtzer won the dramatic four-hole playoff in last year’s AT&T Champions Classic over Loren Roberts; and now, the two-time winner of this event, is looking to become the first player to win three times at the challenging Valencia Country Club layout.
To do that – he will have to beat another stellar field in the $1.6 million event, including some Champions Tour newcomers in Bernhard Langer, John Cook and Jeff Sluman, March 14-16 in the Santa Clarita Valley. The trio all turned 50 after last year’s AT&T Champions Classic.
Purtzer, who also won the event in 2003, rolled in a 17-foot putt on the fourth playoff hole to top Roberts. The Champions Tour win became even more notable since Purtzer, not known for his putting, beat the tour’s putting leader in Roberts. Both players finished 54 holes deadlocked at 10-under.
Roberts’ runner-up finish was one of 13 Top-5 finishes in 23 starts, helping him capture the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points race. On the list of players committed to return in 2008, Roberts won one major in 2007, the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship and also won the Boeing Championship, while leading the tour in scoring average.
Langer, a two-time Masters Champion, turned 50 on August 27, 2007. He made five Champions Tour starts in 2007 and won the Administaff Small Business Classic in October, shooting a course record 10-under 62 to open the tournament at Augusta Pines. He went on to equal Roberts’ all-time Champions Tour 54-hole scoring record of 25-under 191.
Cook has won 11 times on the PGA Tour and won his first Champions Tour event in only his second outing, taking top honors at the AT&T Championship in San Antonio. The mid-October win came just 19 days after he turned 50.
Sluman’s first career Champions Tour event came in mid-September of 2007 at the Greater Hickory Classic where he finished tied for 15th. The six-time PGA Tour winner made five starts total last season, recording four Top-20 results.
Other former winners of the AT&T Champions Classic at Valencia Country Club committed to play include: Tom Kite, the 2002 and 2006 champion; Des Smyth, the 2005 winner; and Gil Morgan, the 2004 titlist.
Other players committed for this year’s AT&T Champions Classic include: Champions Tour Player of the Year Jay Haas, Raymond Floyd, Peter Jacobsen, Craig Stadler and Fuzzy Zoeller.
The 2008 Champions Tour kicks off with back-to-back tournaments in Hawaii, starting January 18 with the MasterCard Championship at Hualalai. Two events in Florida and a return to Hawaii for the Wendy’s Champions Skins Game dot the calendar for February, setting the stage for the tour to swing into California March 7-9 in Newport Beach as a run-up to the AT&T Champions Classic.
For more information, ticket purchases, Pro-Am participation or hospitality options, please call 661-260-1897 or visit the tournament’s Internet site at www.attchampionsclassic.com.