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Gary Player, Nick Price join AT&T Champions Classic field

World Golf Hall of Famers tee up at Valencia Country Club March 9-15

Posted: March 7, 2009 1:14 a.m.
Updated: March 6, 2009 10:30 p.m.
 
One of golf's greatest ambassadors and one of the most dominant players in golf in the early 1990s, Gary Player and Nick Price, respectively, have now joined the field for the AT&T Champions Classic at Valencia Country Club.

Both players are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Player was inducted in 1974 and Price joined his South Africa countryman in 2003.

Dubbed the "Black Knight" and "The International Ambassador of Golf," Player has amassed 163 tournament wins worldwide during his distinguished career. Among those wins, Player captured nine major titles on his way to the Career Grand Slam: three Masters Tournaments (1961, '74, and '78), three British Opens (1959, '68, '74; the only player in the 20th Century to win the British Open in three different decades), two PGA Championships (1962, '72) and one U.S. Open (1965). In all, he won 24 times on the PGA Tour, with his first win coming in 1958 at the Kentucky Derby Open and his last win in 1978 at the Houston Open.

Player garnered his first of 19 Champions Tour titles in 1985, including the Senior PGA Championship three times (1986, '88 and '90) and back-to-back U.S. Senior Opens in 1987 and 1988, along with the Senior Players Championship. He also won the 1990 and 1997 Senior British Open.

One of the remarkable aspects of Player's continued performance is his ability to shoot his age, 73, or better.

To open his season in 2009 he had three consecutive rounds in Hawaii at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in which he shot 70-71-71. He followed that up with a 73 in the first round of the Allianz Championship in early February. Player has not competed at Valencia Country Club since 2002.

Price returns to the AT&T Champions Classic for the second straight year looking to build on last year's performance. He stood atop the leader board after the opening round, firing a 66 for a one stroke lead over Tom Purtzer, but that was erased after a second round 77 dropped him from contention. He rebounded with a 71 on the third day to finish in a three-way tie for 11th.

The Durban, South Africa, native played in 18 Champions Tour events in 2008 and had two career best second-place finishes. He finished the season fourth in scoring average at 69.71.

During his PGA Tour career, Price recorded 18 victories and earned PGA Tour Player of the Year honors in 1993 and 1994. His 1994 season was one of the best ever on tour, garnering six titles, including the British Open and PGA Championship. He is one of only nine players since 1945 to capture consecutive majors, joining Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington, who accomplished the feat last year. In addition to his Tour wins, Price has 24 other victories worldwide.

Price adds to a stellar list of commitments received to date for the 54-hole AT&T Champions Classic, including defending champion Denis Watson, and former winners Tom Purtzer, Tom Kite, Gil Morgan and Jim Colbert, along with some other top players, including Bernhard Langer, Fred Funk, Mark O'Meara, John Cook, Ben Crenshaw and Hale Irwin.

For more information or to take advantage of Pro-Am participation or one of the hospitality programs, please call (661) 260-1897 or visit the tournament's Internet site at www.attchampionsclassic.com.

Tournament round tickets, starting as low as $15, are on sale now at www.championsclassictickets.com or by calling (661) 254-3303.

AT&T is offering free admission for the tournament practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday, March 9 and 10, and the pro-am rounds on Wednesday and Thursday, March 11 and 12.

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