Golf

There’s plenty new about the PGA Tour Champions event in Boca Raton — including its name

Mark Calcavecchia winner of the 2018 Boca Raton Championship on the Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, Florida on February 11, 2018. Calcavecchia won by two strokes over Bernhard Langer.
Mark Calcavecchia winner of the 2018 Boca Raton Championship on the Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, Florida on February 11, 2018. Calcavecchia won by two strokes over Bernhard Langer. The Palm Beach Post

The name of the golf tournament is new. Tweaks and improvements to the golf course make it slightly new. Many of the fan-friendly amenities at the tournament are also new.

But, of course — and with sincere apologies to the golfers in the Oasis Championship — some of them might unwittingly be called old. Of course, the golfers themselves would prefer to be called seniors or, even better, well-seasoned.

All the golfers in the newly-named Oasis Championship, featuring golf’s finest players from years past, must be 50 years and older. You know most of their names because many of them were multi-PGA tournament winners and some even have major titles to their credit.

They will be teeing it up starting Friday in the first round of the Oasis Championship (formerly known as the Allianz Championship and Boca Raton Championship).

Here are some of the bigger names in this PGA Tour Champions event and what they had to say about the three days of competition on The Old Course at Broken Sound that ends on Sunday.

Defending champion Mark Calcavecchia, 58: Nobody has won this tournament in back-to-back years, and that will be Calcavecchia’s goal.

“Winning last year meant a lot to me,” Calcavecchia said. “I think the older you get, you’re not sure if it’s going to be your last one. I would like to think there’s another one or two in there.”

Calcavecchia has become accustomed to winning close to home. While living in South Florida, he won two Honda Classics and added the Oasis when it was the Boca Raton Championship a year ago. When he lived in Phoenix, he won three Phoenix Open titles.

“There’s something about home cooking that serves me well,” Calcavecchia said.

Calcavecchia also has a British Open title and 13 PGA Tour championships to his credit.

Fred Couples, 59, who was noted for his smooth, fluid swing: Unfortunately for Couples, in addition to that sweet swing he displayed on the PGA Tour, he was also noted for a bad back that plagued him much of his career.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” Couples said. “I could play great and get in the car and drive to the hotel and get out wrong and something could go wrong with my back. Or I can hit a driver as hard as I can and something could happen there. So there’s no rhyme or reason.

“Two years ago I skipped Augusta (Masters) because physically I couldn’t move, and last year I went basically wearing a back brace. I just didn’t want to miss it again, and I made the cut. I felt like I won the tournament just by making the cut.”

With all that gloom and doom said, Couples smiled and said, “I do really feel pretty good at the moment. I’m not here just to show up.”

Couples has 15 PGA Tour championships and also a Masters title in his resume. (please accent the e’s in resume).

Gary Nicklaus, 50, making his PGA Tour Champions debut: OK, just to make sure, this is not Jack Nicklaus, considered the greatest golfer of all time. This would be Jack’s son.

Gary once appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated touting him as “The Next Nicklaus”.

One of Gary’s career highlights was beating his father at age 15. He turned pro in 1991 but had limited PGA Tour success and retired in 2003. In 2007, his amateur status was reinstated, and now he is back playing professionally and looking forward to it.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve played professionally,” Gary said. “This week’s been great. The welcome has been great from the guys.”

Other well-known notables: Bernhard Langer, Corey Pavin, John Daly, Retief Goosen, Rocco Mediate and Tom Lehman.

IF YOU GO



What: The Oasis Championship (PGA Tour Champions event).

Where: The Old Course at Broken Sound, Boca Raton.

Purse: $1,700,000.

Schedule: Friday – Play starts 9:40 a.m.; TV – Golf Channel, noon to 2:30 p.m.; Saturday – Play starts 9:40 a.m. TV – Golf Channel 3:30-5:30 p.m.; Sunday – Play starts at 7:40 a.m.; TV – Golf Channel 3-5 p.m.

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