NEWPORT BEACH (CNS) - The Hoag Classic begins today at Newport Beach Country Club, one year after the PGA Tour Champions tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
``To come here to Newport Beach Country Club and to the area, seeing things getting back to normal, is wonderful,'' said Ernie Els, the 2020 tournament champion.
Els is among eight World Golf Hall of Fame members in the 80-player field, along with Fred Couples, Retief Goosen, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Vijay Singh.
Miguel Angel Jiménez has won two of the season's first three tournaments on the tour for players 50 years old and older, including the Cologuard Classic, which concluded Sunday in Tucson, Arizona. The 58-year-old Spaniard is the first player since Loren Roberts in 2006 to win two of the first three events of the season on PGA Tour Champions.
Langer is the tour's other winner this season, winning the Chubb Classic that concluded Feb. 20 in Naples, Florida.
Tickets are $30, with children ages 11 and under receiving free admission. All ticket sales are conducted online at HoagClassic.com/tickets.
Saturday is Military Appreciation Day, with all active duty, military reserve, National Guard, military retirees and veterans and one guest each receiving complimentary admission with food and beverage.
Following play at 4 p.m., six names will be added to Col. Norman G. Ewers Military Wall of Honor, named for the late Marine Corps aviator who served in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Sunday is Student Day with complimentary admission for attendees 18 and under.
The tournament will be televised by Golf Channel from 3-5 p.m. today, 2-4 p.m. Saturday and 1:30-4 p.m. Sunday.
The tournament's purse has increased to $2 million from the $1.8 million in 2020. The winner will receive $300,000, $30,000 more than the $270,000 Els received for winning in 2020.
The tournament's net proceeds will benefit the programs and services of Hoag, a nonprofit Orange County regional health care delivery network, including the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center, as well as several military charities.
The tournament has raised more than $20 million for Hoag's program and services, as well as other local charities in its history. It has been played annually since 1995, except for 2017 and 2021.