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AT&T Champions Classic: Quick facts 2

Monday through Sunday at Valencia Country Club

Posted: March 9, 2009 1:01 a.m.
Updated: March 8, 2009 10:11 p.m.
 
Santa Clarita Valley golf fans, local residents and an international entourage of professional golfers and media converge on Valencia Country Club Monday through Sunday for the AT&T Champions Classic Golf tournament.

Here's a handy roundup of the essential details on this year's tournament plus background on the event:

CHAMPIONS TOUR's 30th ANNIVERSARY: The 2009 season marks the 30th anniversary of the Champions Tour. This year's AT&T Champions Classic is the fifth of 25 official events on the PGA TOUR's Champions Tour schedule for 2009. The AT&T Champions Classic is also the fifth of 25 Charles Schwab Cup events this year, concluding with the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, October 29-November 1. Total official prize money on the Champions Tour in 2009 will be $48.9 million, with the highest average purse ever ($1.96 million per official event). The Champions Tour started in 1980 with four events and total official prize money was $475,000.

DATES: March 9-15, 2009

PURSE: $1,600,000 ($240,000 and 240 Charles Schwab Cup points to the winner)

VENUE: Valencia Country Club, 27330 Tourney Road, Valencia, CA 91355. Phone (661) 254-4401 or visit www.valenciagolfclub.com.

ARCHITECT: Robert Trent Jones, Sr. (1965)

PAR: 36-36 -- 72 YARDS: 6,959

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Denis Watson (73-71-65-209/-7); defeated Loren Roberts in 2008 with a birdie-3 on the third playoff hole. Brad Bryant eliminated from playoff after making par on the second extra hole.

FORMAT: 54-hole stroke-play event with no cut and a professional field of 79 players.

THE ROAD TO THE CHARLES SCHWAB CUP: The Charles Schwab Cup, now in its ninth year, is designed to recognize the Champions Tour's leading player. The season-long bonus-points competition rewards players for top-10 finishes at all 25 official events based on each week's money distribution. For example, $1,000 earned would be the equivalent of one Schwab Cup point (points are doubled at the five major championships during the year and also at the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship).

The program offers $2.1 million in payouts to the five leading performers, with the winner receiving $1 million. Jay Haas won his second Charles Schwab Cup in three years last season, edging Fred Funk by just 12 points. Loren Roberts won the Charles Schwab Cup in 2007, edging out Haas by only 165 points. Haas has an opportunity to become the first player ever to defend the Schwab Cup.

TELEVISION: Coverage of this year's AT&T Champions Classic will air on GOLF CHANNEL on a tape-delayed basis. Friday's telecast will be from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and on Saturday, the second round will be shown from 6:30-9:00 p.m. Sunday's final round will air from 7:30-10:00 p.m. Brian Hammons will host with former European Tour standout Peter Oosterhuis providing analysis in the booth. David Marr will be in the tower and PGA TOUR veteran Billy Ray Brown and World Golf Hall of Fame member Donna Caponi-Brynes will provide commentary on the course. All times listed are local.

GIVING BACK: The AT&T Champions Classic has exceeded $1 million in charitable donations since the event moved to Valencia in 2001. The primary charity for 2009 will be the College of the Canyons and other local community charities. The PGA TOUR surpassed the $1-billion mark in all-time charitable giving in 2005 and should achieve the second billion in the next four to six years.

ABOUT AT&T: AT&T Inc. is a premier communications-holding company in the United States and worldwide. Operating globally under the AT&T brand, AT&T is recognized as the leading worldwide provider of IP-based communications services to businesses and the leading U.S. provider of wireless, high-speed Internet access, local and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. As part of its "three screen" integration strategy, AT&T is expanding video entertainment offerings to include such next-generation television services as AT&T U-verse TV. The merger of AT&T and BellSouth, along with the ownership consolidation of Cingular Wireless and YELLOWPAGES.COM, will speed convergence, competition and continued innovation in the communications and entertainment industry, creating new solutions for consumers and businesses. AT&T continues to build on the heritage of its predecessor companies that have served customers for more than a century.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE EVENT: This year's AT&T Champions Classic will be the second of a two-week California swing for the Champions Tour. The AT&T Champions Classic will be played at Valencia Country Club for the ninth consecutive year.

Started in 1990 as the Security Pacific Senior Classic, the tournament was held at Rancho Park GC in Los Angeles from 1990-94 before it was held at Wilshire Country Club from 1995-2000. The tournament relocated to Valencia in 2001.

In addition to Security Pacific, the tournament has been title sponsored by Ralphs Grocery Company (1992-97), Pacific Bell (1998-99) and SBC (2000-2005). It became title sponsored by AT&T in 2006 following the SBC acquisition.

Joe Inman won this event three straight years (1998-2000) while Gil Morgan claimed back-to-back events in 1996-97. Both Tom Kite (2002, 2006) and Tom Purtzer (2003, 2007) are also multiple champions.

VALENCIA COUNTRY CLUB: Since its public opening in 1965, Valencia Country Club has been recognized as one of Southern California's premier golf layouts. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Golf Digest named the layout one of the top-25 courses in the state of California in 1995. The course hosted the PGA TOUR's Nissan Open in 1998 before serving as the site for the Champions Tour's AT&T Classic beginning in 2001.

2008 AT&T CHAMPIONS CLASSIC RECAP: Denis Watson won his third career title on the Champions Tour in his 35th career start, outlasting both Brad Bryant and Loren Roberts in a playoff.

Watson, a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR, birdied the par-5 18th hole in regulation to shoot a final-round 65 and share the top spot with both Roberts and Bryant. After all three players made par on the first playoff hole, Bryant was eliminated on the second extra hole after making a par.

Watson then set up his winning birdie on the third extra hole, hitting a 9-iron second shot from 152 yards to within 20 inches of the cup on the par-4 10th.

Watson's victory completed a seven-stroke comeback in the final round, the biggest on the Champions Tour since 2005, and it also matched the third-best come-from-behind win in Champions Tour history.

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