A talented field that includes past Disney champions Davis Love III and Robert Garrigus, and popular veterans Justin Leonard, Rocco Mediate and Camilo Villegas, highlights this year’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, held Nov. 8-11 at Walt Disney World Resort.
Along with the former Ryder Cup captain Love III, the field also features five past major champions, Stewart Cink, Ben Curtis, Trevor Immelman, Leonard and Mike Weir, along with two players in the top 30 of this year’s money list, Curtis and Garrigus.
Twenty nine players in the field have won on the PGA TOUR within the past two years, including Jonas Blixt, Curtis, Tommy Gainey, J.J. Henry, Leonard, Mediate, D.A. Points and Villegas.
A fan favorite, Gainey, nicknamed “Two Gloves,” is looking for back-to-back wins after capturing the McGladrey Classic in Sea Island last month. He knows the courses well at Disney, finishing second at the Classic in 2008.
Jonas Blixt, a rookie of the year candidate who became the eighth Swedish player to win on TOUR with his victory at the Frys.com Open, is looking to break into the top 30 money list. He is currently ranked No. 35.
Another popular name, Rocco Mediate, is making his 22nd start at Disney. Mediate has three top 10 finishes at Disney, including tied for fourth in 1999. His first start at Disney came in 1987.
Bolstering the field are seven total former champions who have claimed victory on Disney’s Palm and Magnolia courses, with Stephen Ames, Joe Durant, Jeff Maggert, Ryan Palmer and Duffy Waldorf joining Garrigus and Love III.
Waldorf, winner of the 2000 National Car Rental Golf Classic at Disney, and Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, received the final two sponsor exemptions. Durant and former Ryder Cup team member Boo Weekley were previously announced as exemptions in October.
“This year’s field demonstrates how competitive it is to be in the top 125,” said Kevin Weickel, tournament director. “We have a full complement of talented players battling it out around the bubble; players the caliber of Camilo Villegas, Billy Mayfair and Justin Leonard looking to fight their way in.”
The complete field can be found at pgatour.com.
A popular lineup of sports celebrities in the pro-am compliment the PGA TOUR field, including three-time American League batting champ and 2009 MVP Joe Mauer, Tampa Bay Rays players James Shields, David Price, B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena, Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, and former MLB stars Fred McGriff, Heathcliff Slocumb, and Aaron Rowand. From the gridiron, future NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks (Tampa Bay Bucs), is joined by former NFL vets Ryan Longwell (Packers), John Mobley (Broncos) and Robert Stevenson (Falcons). Former light heavyweight boxing champion Antonio Tarver and the NHL’s Scottie Upshall will also be teeing off at the Palm and Magnolia. Outside of the sports world, comedian Bill Engvall will be a part of the Disney Classic pro-am, held during the first two official rounds of the tournament on Disney’s Palm and Magnolia courses.
The Golf Channel will televise the tournament for the sixth consecutive year. The Golf Channel is scheduled to air live coverage each day.
Tickets for individual rounds ($20), badges for Classic week ($30) are available at www.CMNHospitalsClassic.com or through www.ticketmaster.com. Proceeds benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando, and Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville.