Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai ContinuesJanuary 16, 2019, 9:00 AM HST (Updated January 16, 2019, 9:01 AM)
Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
Hualalai Golf Course | Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii | January 14–19, 2019
Golf Course: Hualalai Golf Course (Par 72 / 7,107 yards)
Designed by: Jack Nicklaus (1993)
Purse: $1,800,000 (Winner: $300,000)
Golf Channel Coverage: all three rounds live from 7 to 10 p.m. ET
The Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai includes tournament champions from the 2017 and 2018 seasons, winners of PGA TOUR Champions majors since 2014, eight additional invitees based on career PGA TOUR wins and major championship titles, and World Golf Hall of Fame members who played a minimum of eight PGA TOUR Champions events in 2018.
The nine World Golf Hall of Fame members committed to compete include Fred Couples, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara, Vijay Singh and Tom Watson. The field also includes seven players who have won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai since the event moved to Hualalai Golf Course in 1997: Hale Irwin (2007, 1997), Tom Kite (2002), Loren Roberts (2006), Tom Watson (2010), Bernhard Langer (2017, 2014, 2009), Miguel Ángel Jiménez (2015) and Jerry Kelly (2018).
Nine World Golf Hall of Fame members in the field
Seven players who have won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
16 players who have a combined total of 32 major titles on the PGA TOUR
Of the 42 players in the field 35 have won a combined total of 319 PGA TOUR wins and 272 more on PGA TOUR Champions; of the 42 players in this year’s field, 41 have won a combined 279 PGA TOUR Champions events.
Eight Charles Schwab Cup champions, spanning 16 years
Six players in the field have won a collective 15 Player of the Year awards
2018 Recap: Jerry Kelly wins season-opener just four days after winning 2017 Rookie of the Year
At the conclusion of the 2018 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, nail-biting competition unfolded as Jerry Kelly and Colin 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.
Major Winners in the Field
Of the 42 players in this year’s field, 16 have won 32 major titles on the PGA TOUR. As a group they have won 319 PGA TOUR events and 272 more on PGA TOUR Champions. Below is a list of those who claimed major titles on the PGA TOUR.
Vijay Singh (2000)
Hale Irwin (’74, ’79, ’90)
Tom Watson (’75, ’77, ’80, ’82, ’83)
Vijay Singh (’98, ’04)
Mark O’Meara (1998)
Tom Watson (1982)
Mark O’Meara (1998)
David Toms (2001)
Bernhard Langer (‘85, ’93)
Tom Kite (1992)
Tom Lehman (1996)
Jeff Sluman (1988)
Fred Couples (1992)
Lee Janzen (’93, ’98)
Mark Calcavecchia (1989)
John Daly (1991)
Tom Watson (’77, ’81)
Corey Pavin (1995)
Sandy Lyle (1985)
Sandy Lyle (1988)
John Daly (1995)
Larry Mize (1987)
Can Langer Continue His Dominance in 2019?
61-year-old Bernhard Langer made 23 starts in 2018, which included two victories (Insperity Invitational, SAS Championship) in addition to 14 top 10s and five runner-up finishes. In November at the completion of the season-long race for the Charles Schwab Cup, Langer won his fifth Cup, which was his fourth in the past five years. A victory at Hualalai in 2019 would be the 39th of his PGA TOUR Champions career, moving the Boca Raton, Florida, resident closer to breaking the all-time victories mark on Tour, held by Hale Irwin with 45. Langer has won at least twice a year since 2012; his six runner-up finishes in 2018 were the most in his career. On January 15, 2019 Langer was named the recipient of the 2018 Jack Nicklaus Award as the PGA TOUR Champions Player of the Year for the fifth year in a row and eighth time overall. He also won the Arnold Palmer Award (leading money winner) for the seventh straight year and 10th time overall, and the Byron Nelson Award (lowest scoring average) for the fifth straight year and seventh time overall. Langer won the player vote over six other Player of the Year candidates: Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker and Paul Broadhurst, who each won three times; Miguel Angel Jimenez, who won two majors; and Scott McCarron and Scott Parel, who each won twice.
McCarron Making His Mark
In his first three full seasons on Tour, Scott McCarron has finished fourth, third and second in the Charles Schwab Cup, and he’s finished second on the money list the last two years. He has eight victories, including wins at last year’s American Family Insurance Championship and Shaw Charity Classic, and he was one of seven players that led the Charles Schwab Cup standings in 2018. This week will be his third start at Hualalai, and he’s coming off a T6 finish last year.
Fresh Faces in Hualalai
This year’s field includes five players making their debuts at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. New faces include Bart Bryant, Steve Flesch, Scott Parel, Steve Stricker and Ken Tanigawa.
Bart Bryant: A two-time winner on PGA TOUR Champions, Bart Bryant’s most recent win came at the 2018 DICK’S Sporting Goods Open where he made a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday to win for the second time in six years. The three-time PGA TOUR winner’s only senior victories have come at En-Joie, which hosted the PGA TOUR’s B.C. Open from 1972-2005.
Steve Flesch: Flesch picked up his first career win at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic last spring and had two additional top-10 finishes before a season-ending surgery after the Boeing Classic in September. He had surgery to repair two bulging discs in his lower neck that bothered him since his win in April. Flesch finished 49th in the Charles Schwab cup despite missing the final eight events of the season. Shortly after his surgery in early September, Flesch made a public statement writing, ” It’s so nice to feel healthy again. I can’t wait to compete again in ‘19.”
Scott Parel: Parel had a breakthrough season in 2018, winning for the first time at the Boeing Classic, and picking up a second win before the year was out, in the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs at the Invesco QQQ Championship. Parel also posted four runner-up finishes among his 11 top-10s. Nine of those top-10s, including both wins, came over the final 16 events. He ended the season with a career-best third-place finish in the Schwab Cup Playoffs.
Steve Stricker: In 2018, in seven starts, Stricker won three times. His worst finish was a T5 at the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf, which is a team event. He finished 13th in money and was nominated for PGA TOUR Champions Player of the Year. He made 12 starts on the PGA TOUR during the 2017-18 season and made the cut nine times.
Ken Tanigawa: The recently awarded 2018 Rookie of the Year earned his status last season through Q-school, and he retained his card with an eagle on the 18th to win his first career tournament at the PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach. Tanigawa also finished T3 at the Boeing Classic and T10 at the Boca Raton Championship. The UCLA graduate ranked fifth on Tour in driving distance (294.8) and 27th in greens in regulation.
Other Players to Watch
Vijay Singh: Another standout player to watch this year is World Golf Hall of Fame member Vijay Singh. Singh won three times in the 2018 season, including his first senior major title at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. In November, the Fiji native carded a 10-under 61 to erase a six-shot deficit and win the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship by four with a 22-under total. His 61 on Sunday tied the course record and was the lowest final round of Singh’s career. A 34-time winner on the PGA TOUR and the 2008 FedExCup champion, Singh is the third player to win both the TOUR Championship and Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Fred Couples: Couples will make his 11th consecutive start at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship. Although historically a high-performer in Hualalai, Couples has yet to capture a win. In 10 starts, the Newport Beach, California, resident has posted three second-place finishes (2010, ’14, ’17) and finished outside the top 10 only twice. After the 2018 MEC at Hualalai, Couples’ next start on PGA TOUR Champions wasn’t until June when he returned to defend his title at the American Family Insurance Championship. He ultimately settled for a T3 finish. Couples only saw seven events for the year but finished six of them in the top 25.
Colin Montgomerie: World Golf Hall of Fame member Colin Montgomerie began his sixth season on PGA TOUR Champions with a runner-up finish at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. He held a two-shot lead through 36 holes but bogeyed the final hole of regulation to fall one shot shy of the title. Montgomerie went on to post four finishes in the top 25 before a T6 finish at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and a T3 finish at the American Family Insurance Championship. Despite finishing his last seven events outside the top 20, Montgomerie advanced to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship where he finished T19 and No. 29 in the standings for the year. Prior to last year, he had a win in four straight seasons.
Miguel Angel Jimenez: Both of the Spaniard’s victories in 2018 came at major championships, first at the Regions Tradition and then at The Senior Open Championship at St. Andrews. Jimenez was the only player to post top-10s in all five majors, and he finished the season fifth in the Charles Schwab Cup and third on the money list. In all, he has six wins on PGA TOUR Champions, and he has a title in each of the last five seasons.
Field Includes Eight Former Charles Schwab Cup Winners
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 Hale Irwin (2002, ’04), Tom Watson (2003, ’05), Jay Haas (2006, ’08), Loren Roberts (2007, ’09), Bernhard 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.
Player of the Year Recipients in the Field
Five players in the field hold 16 Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year awards, spanning 20 years: Hale Irwin (1997, 98’, 02’); Tom Watson (2003); Jay Haas (2006, 07’); Bernhard Langer (2008, ’09, ’10, ’14, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18); Tom Lehman (2011, ’12).
High Performers from Start to Finish
Over the years, there have been three players who began their season with a victory at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and ended it as recipient of the Player of the Year Award. Those players are Hale Irwin (1997), Dana Quigley (2005) and Bernhard Langer (2009, ’14, ’17).
Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai – Past Champions, Scores and Runners Up
Champions since the event moved to Hualalai Golf Course in 1997.
198 / -18
129 / -15
198 / -18
Miguel Angel Jimenez
199 / -17
194 / -22
Fred Couples, Jeff Sluman
199 / -17
201 / -15
Jay Don Blake
194 / -22
194 / -22
198 / -18
195 / -21
193 / -23
Tom Kite, Jim Thorpe
191 / -25
198 / -18
196 / -20
198 / -18
199 / -17
197 / -19
207 / -9
Hale Irwin, Graham Marsh, Dana Quigley, Lee Trevino
203 / -13
Jim Colbert, Raymond Floyd
195 / -21
Gibby Gilbert, Hale Irwin
209 / -7
The Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai was first played as the Senior Tournament of Champions in 1984 and the venue was La Costa Country Club in Carlsbad, Calif., from 1984-94. The limited-field tournament then moved to the Hyatt Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico from 1995-96 before relocating again to Hualalai on the Big Island in 1997. Miller Barber (1986, ‘89), Al Geiberger (1992, ‘93), George Archer (1990 and 2000), Dana Quigley (2003, ‘05), John Cook (2011, ’13), Hale Irwin (1997 and 2007) and Bernhard Langer (2010, ’14, ’17) have all won this event multiple times with Archer being the only player to claim titles at two different venues (1990 at La Costa and 2000 at Hualalai). This will be the 11th year for Mitsubishi Electric as title sponsor of the event.
As it begins its 23rd year at the Hualalai Golf Course, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai holds the distinction of being the longest running event on PGA TOUR Champions held at the same venue. The Hoag Classic held that distinction previously at 21 years through 2016, but was not on the 2017 schedule due to a move from the fall to the spring, although it did return to the schedule in 2018.
Ten players have claimed this championship in their first appearances, including recent champions Jerry Kelly (2018), Miguel Angel Jiménez (2015) and Duffy Waldorf (2016). Prior to Jiménez, the last to do so was Loren Roberts (2006). Others to accomplish the feat are John Jacobs (1999), John Bland (1996), George Archer (1990), Dave Hill (1988), Peter Thomson (1985) and Orville Moody (1984).
Hale Irwin’s 2007 win at Hualalai came at 61 years, 7 months, 18 days, making him the oldest winner in event history. Tom Watson’s victory in 2010 at 60 years, 4 months, 20 days made him the second-oldest winner. Only one other player over 60 has claimed this title and that was George Archer in 2000 when he won for the second time (60 years, 3 months, 6 days). Archer was also the youngest winner in event history (50 years, 3 months, 6 days) when we won at La Costa in 1990.
Field Has International Flavor
This year’s field includes players from eight countries. In addition to the United States, players hail from England (Paul Broadhurst), Fiji (Vijay Singh), Germany (Bernhard Langer), Scotland (Colin Montgomerie and Sandy Lyle), Spain (Miguel Angel Jiménez), Paraguay (Carlos Franco) and Canada (Stephen Ames).
The 2019 Rookie Class
For players to become eligible to compete for PGA TOUR Champions events they must turn 50 years of age by the first competition round. If a player plays less than six tournaments in his first season of eligibility, he is considered a rookie the following season. Newcomers for 2019 with at least one PGA TOUR win include:
Shaun Micheel (January 5)
Retief Goosen (February 3)
Shigeki Maruyama (September 12)
Angel Cabrera (September 12)
Rod Pampling (September 23)
Ernie Els (October 17)
Upcoming rookie classes include:
2020 – Jim Furyk (May 12), Mike Weir (May 12), K.J. Choi (May 19), Phil Mickelson (June 16)
2019 PGA TOUR Champions Schedule
Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
Boca Raton Championship
Rapiscan Systems Classic
Mitsubishi Electric Classic
Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge
KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship
Principal Charity Classic
Mastercard Japan Championship
American Family Insurance Championship
U.S. Senior Open Championship
Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship
Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex
DICK’S Sporting Goods Open
Shaw Charity Classic
The Ally Challenge
PURE Insurance Championship
Dominion Energy Charity Classic
Invesco QQQ Championship
Charles Schwab Cup Championship