MEC at Hualālai Features 8 Charles Schwab Cup ChampionsJanuary 7, 2019, 8:31 AM HST (Updated January 7, 2019, 8:31 AM)
The 2019 PGA TOUR Champions season kicks off at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai in Ka‘upulehu-Kona, Hawai‘i, where 42 of the best players on Tour will begin the season-long race towards the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. Since the inception of the Schwab Cup in 2001, nine players have won the trophy, and eight of those nine will return to Hualālai the week of Jan. 14 through 19, to compete at Hualālai Golf Course.
The elite field will be highlighted by Bernhard Langer, who captured his record-breaking fifth Charles Schwab Cup in November at the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. The 38-time PGA TOUR Champions winner finished T13 and won the season-long title with help from Vijay Singh, who torched Phoenix Country Club with a 10-under 61 in the final round to win the tournament.
This year, Langer and Singh will be joined at Hualālai by seven of their fellow World Golf Hall of Fame members, including Fred Couples, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara and Tom Watson.
The eight Charles Schwab Cup winners who have qualified for the 2019 event have won 17 of the 18 previous Schwab Cups. This list includes Irwin (2002, ’04), Watson (2003, ’05), Jay Haas (2006, ’08), Loren Roberts (2007, ’09), Langer (2010, ’14, ’15, ’16, ’18), Kenny Perry (2013), Tom Lehman (2011, ’12) and Kevin Sutherland (2017). The only Schwab Cup winner who did not qualify for the event is Allen Doyle, who no longer competes regularly on Tour. Doyle won the inaugural Cup in 2001 and his last time competing at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship was in 2011.
Four of the eight Schwab Cup champions have won at Hualālai, including Langer (2009, ’14, ’17), Watson (2010), Irwin (1997, 2007) and Roberts (2006). Langer is the only player in the history of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai to win the tournament in January and go on to win the Charles Schwab Cup at the end of the season (2014).
The final round of the 2018 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai produced nail-biting competition as Jerry Kelly and Montgomerie battled to capture the first win of the season. It came down to the 18th hole where Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt, while Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par. The World Golf Hall of Famer’s mistake allowed Kelly to erase his one-shot deficit and claim his first victory of the year and third of his career. The win came just three days after being named PGA TOUR Champions 2017 Rookie of the Year.
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