Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Boasting a purse of US$2.5 million, the 2016 Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship will get underway on Friday at Bear Mountain Golf Resort’s Mountain Course.
No fewer than 81 of the top players from the PGA Tour Champions are competing in the event sponsored by Pacific Links, a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Headlining one of the strongest fields on the 2016 PGA Tour Champions season are World Golf Hall of Fame members Bernhard Langer, Vijay Singh, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara and Tom Kite.
Langer, who currently leads the Charles Schwab Cup standings with US$2,432,659 in 2016 earnings, has put forth one of the strongest seasons in Tour history at the age of 59, with four wins – including Major championship victories at the Regions Tradition and Constellation Senior Players Championship.
The two-time Masters Tournament champion owns 29 career titles on the PGA Tour Champions, which puts him tied for second on the all-time victories list with Lee Trevino, trailing only Hale Irwin, who has 45 career wins.
Singh won 34 times during a stellar career on the PGA Tour, including Major championship titles at the 1998 and 2004 PGA Championship, as well as the 2000 Masters Tournament.
The 53-year-old native of Fiji ranks 14th on the PGA Tour’s all-time victories list, and recorded 31 of his 34 wins during what is commonly referred to as the ‘Tiger Woods era’. Singh was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005.
Montgomerie, 53, has notched three victories on the PGA Tour Champions, including the 2014 and 2015 Senior PGA Championship, as well as the 2014 US Senior Open – all of which are senior Major championships.
The Scotland native won the European Tour’s Order of Merit a record eight times during a standout career which gave way to Hall of Fame honours in 2013.
Montgomerie drew the ire of American golf fans through the years, posting a 20-7-1 record in the biennial Ryder Cup without losing a singles match.
Other notable players in the field include former Masters Tournament champions Craig Stadler (1983), Larry Mize (1987) and Ian Woosnam (1991), as well as former Open Championship winners Mark Calcavecchia (1989) and Todd Hamilton (2005).
Two-time US Open champion Lee Janzen and 1987 US Open winner Scott Simpson will tee it up on Friday, as will former PGA Championship winner Jeff Sluman (1988).
The inaugural Charles Schwab Cup Play-offs are set to get underway at the end of October, which makes the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship a crucial stop on the 2016 calendar as one of the final three events in the Tour’s Regular Season.
The top 72 players will qualify for the Play-offs. The Charles Schwab Cup standings during the Regular Season are based on earnings, in turn making the US$375,000 winner’s share this week an attractive target for players looking to win the season-long race.
Only three events in the Tour’s 26-tournament schedule have larger purses than the US$2.5 million offered this week, with all three being Major championships.
The field at the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship will consist of 52 former PGA Tour winners and 11 players who have won on the PGA Tour Champions this year alone.
Tournament week in Victoria began with Official Pro-Ams yesterday and today followed by 54 holes of championship play from Friday through Sunday, with no cut.
All three competitive rounds will be broadcast live by the Golf Channel to more than 200 million homes in 84 countries and 11 languages around the world.