Golf spotlight

There’s no clear favorite to win this year’s Allianz

 

Special to The Miami Herald

The Allianz Championship, played on The Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, has never had a repeat winner. That could change this year.

The three past defending champions — Corey Pavin (2012), Tom Lehman (2011) and Bernhard Langer (2010) — will all be back in this year’s tournament that will be played Feb. 8-10.

Ryan Dillon

The trio of Pavin, Lehman and Langer have combined for 115 victories in their careers with four majors won and more than $52 million in earnings. However, that doesn’t make any of them a lock to win the tournament.

The Champions field at Allianz has some young guns standing in the way — if you consider the 50 to 55 age group young.

Rocco Mediate, a newcomer to the Allianz and the Champions Tour after turning 50 on Dec. 17, looks like a contender.

Other notable players committed to the tournament are Steve Elkington, Mark Calcavecchia, Hale Irwin and Duffy Waldorf.

Elkington and Waldorf, like Mediate, are Champions Tour rookies.

One of the tournament’s kickoff events is a clinic next Tuesday by Annika Sorenstam, an eight-time Player of the Year who won more than $20 million on tour. That will be part of the Allianz’s Executive Women’s Pro-Am. Sorenstam had 72 LPGA victories and won 10 majors, and also shot the lowest round in LPGA history, a 13-under-par 59.

Unlike past years, admission to the Allianz will not be free this year. There is a $20 grounds fee for each of the three days of the tournament. However, anyone under 17 or over 65 will be admitted free. There are also skyboxes and preferred seating available. Call 561-241-4658 for information on all tournament events.

RORY CONTRIBUTES

Rory McIlroy, world No. 1, is committed to playing March 7-10 in the WGC Championships-Cadillac Championship at Doral, which is no surprise. Barring injury, virtually all the top pros play in the event.

McIlroy has not committed to the Honda Classic (Feb. 28-March 3), but since he is the defending champion, his playing the Honda becomes much more likely. Tiger Woods also has not confirmed whether he will play at Honda.

When he is at Doral, McIlroy, 23, will give back to the South Florida community, using a bag that has First Tee engraved on it. The bag will be auctioned off at the end of the tournament to raise money for charity.

Eddie Carbone, the executive director of the Doral WGC tournament, explained some of McIlroy’s fondness for South Florida during the recent First Tee ceremony to unveil a new facility, brought into existence by Charlie DeLuccca, that helps young people in both education and golf.

“Rory considers the first ‘major’ championship he won on U.S. soil to be at Charlie DeLucca’s Doral Publix tournament,” Carbone said. McIlroy was 9 when he won the under-10 division.

CAPARROS IMPRESSIVE

Kristian Caparros, a 10th-grader at Plantation American Heritage who lives in Hollywood, shot 77-77-75-73—302 to finish in ninth place in the South American Amateur Individual Championships in Colombia.

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