Couples joining Classic field
Couples confirms entry in next week’s Shaw Charity Classic golf tournament
The playing field of the Shaw Charity Classic just became a little more interesting.
Fred Couples announced that he is returning to Calgary next week to round out one of the deepest fields on the PGA Tour Champions calendar.
Battling back issues on and off for the last 25 years, the 58-yearold has proven time and time again that when he is healthy, he is still one of the most exciting golfers in the world.
“Calgary has been a very enjoyable place for me,” Couples said. “I’ve always said, as long as I’m healthy, I plan on coming here every year. The people at Shaw are incredible. The crowds are huge. The course is always in great shape. And I feel like I can play it well.
“There is nothing more a player could ask for. I look forward to getting back there.”
Couples won the 2014 event in thrilling fashion after a career-best final round of 61 that included a chip-in eagle on the 54th hole.
The victory came down to the wire, too, as he captured the first playoff hole over Billy Andrade, the lone playoff finish in the awardwinning event’s short history.
This year’s event — which runs from Aug. 27 to Sept. 2 at Canyon Meadows Golf & Country Club — features one of the most impressive fields of competition to date.
Couples joins fellow World Golf Hall of Fame members already committed including Bernhard Langer, Davis Love III, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara and Vijay Singh.
The four other Shaw Charity Classic champions joining Couples in Calgary include Rocco Mediate (2013), Jeff Maggert (2015), Carlos Franco (2016) and defending champ Scott McCarron (2017).
Notable members of the PGA Tour Champions include Darren Clarke and Chris DiMarco.
Other notables include Fred Funk, Jesper Parnevik, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Steve Flesch, Lee Janzen and Canadians Stephen Ames and Rod Spittle.
In case you’re counting, that’s 15 PGA Tour major title wins and 46 PGA Tour Champions titles among all of the competitors while 55 players in the field have combined to win 309 times on the PGA Tour. Talk about a star-studded field. “Adding Freddy to this incredible lineup of athletes who have all been a part of some of the greatest and most memorable moments in the game delivers a boost of excitement for us heading into tournament week,” said Sean Van Kesteren, tournament director of the Shaw Charity Classic.
Couples is a winner of 15 PGA Tour events but, perhaps, is remembered most for his 1992 triumph at the Masters tournament.
Once graduating to the senior swing, he made an immediate statement.
Finishing second in his first start, he went on to win his next three events, becoming the first player ever to win three of his first four tournaments.
Couples has two major championship victories on the PGA Tour Champions: the 2011 Senior Players Championship and the Senior Open Championship in 2012.
Couples has not won since capturing his 13th victory on the PGA Tour Champions last year at the Chubb Classic and the American Family Insurance Championship and will come in fresh off his hometown event Boeing Classic in Seattle.
A fan favourite wherever he goes, Couples is enjoying every minute of the 50-and-older circuit.
“I thought I could play five really good years on the Champions Tour and that would be it, but I would miss it,” he told the Seattle Times. “It is fun, and I enjoy it. I really do.”
The field will consist of 78 stars on the PGA Tour Champions who are set to compete for a total purse of US$2.35-million in a three-round, 54-hole stroke-play tournament. The winner receives $352,500.
The annual PGA Tour Champions stop in Canada showcases Calgary to the world through its broadcast on the Golf Channel and has raised more than $22 million for Alberta children’s charities in its first five years.
This year, the Shaw Charity Classic has set a lofty fundraising goal of $10 million, which will support 182 children’s charities across Alberta. This effort is made possible thanks to renewed support from Shaw Communications and AltaLink for Shaw Birdies for Kids, presented by AltaLink.
Hall of Famer Fred Couples, who beat Billy Andrade in a playoff to win the 2014 Shaw Charity Golf Classic at Canyon Meadows, is returning to this year’s event, which runs from Aug. 27 to Sept. 2.