Champions Golf Tour
CHAMPIONS - Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Friday, January 21st through Sunday, January 23rd
SITE: Hualalai Golf Club, Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii
COURSE ARCHITECT: Jack Nicklaus (1995)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,107
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 397 Yds10 - Par 5 566 Yds
2 - Par 4 434 Yds11 - Par 4 416 Yds
3 - Par 4 422 Yds12 - Par 3 167 Yds
4 - Par 5 526 Yds13 - Par 4 387 Yds
5 - Par 3 205 Yds14 - Par 5 519 Yds
6 - Par 4 392 Yds15 - Par 4 428 Yds
7 - Par 5 551 Yds16 - Par 4 440 Yds
8 - Par 3 222 Yds17 - Par 3 164 Yds
9 - Par 4 461 Yds18 - Par 4 410 Yds
--------------------------
36 3,610 Yds36 3,497 Yds
 
Annual:  28th
Television:  Golf Channel - Friday -- 6:30-9 p.m. (et),
  - Saturday/Sunday -- 7:30-10 p.m. (et),
Defending Champion:  Tom Watson
Runner-Up:  Fred Couples
72-Hole Tournament Record:  279 (Bruce Crampton, 1992; Jack Nicklaus, 1994)
54-Hole Tournament Record:  191 (Loren Roberts, 2006)
36-Hole Record:  127 (Don Pooley, 2006)
Course Record:  61 (Loren Roberts, 2006)
Total Purse:  $1,800,000
Shares:  1st Place - $305,000; 2nd Place - $184,000; 3rd Place - $130,000
 
2010 Finish
PlayerScorePlayerScore
Tom Watson194Keith Fergus203
Fred Couples195Phil Blackmar203
Michael Allen198Mike Goodes203
Tom Lehman200Bernhard Langer204
Hale Irwin202Mark Wiebe204
 
Past Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2010Tom Watson (194) -- Fred Couples
2009Bernhard Langer (198) -- Andy Bean
2008Fred Funk (195) -- Allen Doyle
2007Hale Irwin (193) -- Tom Kite, Jim Thorpe
2006Loren Roberts (191) -- Don Pooley
2005*Dana Quigley (198) -- Tom Watson
2004Fuzzy Zoeller (196) -- Dana Quigley
2003Dana Quigley (198) -- Larry Nelson
2002Tom Kite (199) -- John Jacobs
2001Larry Nelson (197) -- Jim Thorpe
2000George Archer (207) -- Lee Trevino, Graham Marsh, Hale Irwin,
Dana Quigley
1999John Jacobs (203) -- Jim Colbert, Ray Floyd
1998Gil Morgan (195) -- Gibby Gilbert, Hale Irwin
1997Hale Irwin (209) -- Gil Morgan
1996John Bland (207) -- Jim Colbert
1995*Jim Colbert (209) -- Jim Albus
1994Jack Nicklaus (279) -- Bob Murphy
1993Al Geiberger (280) -- Jim Dent
1992Al Geiberger (280) -- Bruce Crampton, Chi Chi Rodriguez
1991Bruce Crampton (279) -- Frank Beard
1990George Archer (283) -- Bruce Crampton, Bobby Nichols
1989Miller Barber (280) -- Dale Douglass
1988#Dave Hill (211) -- Miller Barber, Al Geiberger
1987*Don January (287) -- Butch Baird
1986Miller Barber (282) -- Arnold Palmer
1985Peter Thomson (284) -- Don January, Dan Sikes
1984Orville Moody (288) -- Dan Sikes

# - Rain Shortened

* - Won in Playoff

Note:Previously called MasterCard Championship at Hualalai (2006-08),
MasterCard Championship (1997-2005), Senior Tournament of Champions (1995-96), Mercedes Championships (1994), Infiniti Senior Tournament of Champions (1991-93), MONY Senior Tournament of Champions (1984-90).

Top Contenders in the Field
Player2001200220032004200520062007200820092010
Tom WatsonT-8T-12T-433rd2ndT-5T-9T-8T-15Won
Fred Couples---------------------------2nd
Michael Allen---------------------------3rd
Tom Lehman---------------------------4th
Hale IrwinT-12T-24T-16T-19T-3T-21WonT-30T-115th
Keith Fergus---------------------T-2333rdT-6
Phil Blackmar---------------------------T-6
Mike Goodes---------------------------T-6
Bernhard Langer---------------------T-3WonT-9
Mark O'Meara---------------------------T-11
Loren Roberts---------------Won4th7thT-8T-13
Corey Pavin---------------------------T-13
Nick Price---------------------------T-13
Jay Haas---------------T-3T-5T-33rdT-17
Mark McNulty------------T-5T-21T-15T-30T-4T-17
Ben Crenshaw---------------25thT-1317th14thT-17
Jeff Sluman------------------------T-4T-22
John Cook---------------------6thT-6T-22
Brad Bryant------------------T-5T-10T-824th
D.A. Weibring---------32ndT-19T-3T-7T-10T-15T-25
Dan Forsman---------------------------T-25
Allen Doyle7thT-5T-7T-7T-20T-8T-92ndT-24T-27
Mike Reid---------------33rdT-19T-18---T-30
Denis Watson---------------------T-1832ndT-34
Tom KiteT-12WonT-11T-22T-19T-26T-235thT-11---
Fred Funk------------------T-28Won------
Fuzzy Zoeller------3rdWonT-10T-26T-19---------
Russ Cochran------------------------------
David Frost------------------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - John Cook
Darkhorse - Michael Allen
 
Last Week's Pick to Win - Q-School (Keith Clearwater) - Finished 1st
Last Week's Darkhorse - Q-School (Steve Haskins) - Finished tied for 10th
 
NOTES:
The 2011 Champions Tour gets under way this week with the first event of the season in the Aloha State, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. The field is comprised of players who have won a Champions Tour major championship within the last five seasons or a Champions Tour co-sponsored and approved tournament in the last two years, plus sponsor exemptions. Six players will make their first trips to Hualalai for this tournament: Russ Cochran, David Frost, Gary Hallberg, Larry Mize, Ted Schulz and Rod Spittle.

Last year, Tom Watson and Fred Couples staged a classic battle in the final round, and it was Watson, who birdied the final two holes, that walked away with the title. Watson fired a seven-under 65 at Hualalai Golf Club to better Couples by a single stroke. Watson ended at 22-under-par 194 to earn his first win since he teamed with Andy North to capture the 2008 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

Trailing by a stroke heading to the 17th tee, Watson dropped his tee ball within 10 feet after Couples left himself about 35 feet for birdie. Couples' putt just missed, but Watson's didn't. His birdie effort found the bottom of the cup to tie Couples for the lead at 21-under. Watson's tee ball at the last stopped in the right rough, while Couples was in the fairway. Watson, playing first, played a wedge to four feet to put the pressure on Couples, who hit a solid shot within 14 feet, but his birdie effort slid just low. He tapped in for par to set the stage for Watson. The 60-year-old Watson knocked in the four-footer for his 13th Champions Tour title, denying Couples the win in his official tour debut. Watson became the fourth wire-to-wire winner in tournament history, joining Peter Thomson (1985), John Jacobs (1999) and Tom Kite (2002).

In 2009, Bernhard Langer carded rounds of 64-66-68 to hold off Andy Bean for a one-stroke win. Langer trailed by one entering the final round, but his 68 gave him the win at 18-under-par 198. Langer went on to win three more times in 2009 and captured the money title for the second consecutive year.

Hale Irwin fired rounds of 66-62-65 in 2007 to cruise to a five-shot victory over Jim Thorpe and Tom Kite. He finished at 23-under-par 193 for his 45th victory on the Champions Tour. Irwin became the oldest winner of this event at 61 years, 7 months and 18 days. George Archer was the previous oldest winner when he won in 2000 at 60 years, 3 months and 23 days. Archer is also the youngest winner of this event when he won in 1990 at 50 years, 3 months and 6 days. Irwin's win here in 2007 was his last on the Champions Tour. Irwin, Dana Quigley, George Archer, Miller Barber and Geiberger are the only two-time winners, while Geiberger is the only player in tournament history to win two straight years (1992-93). Irwin, the winner in 1997 and 2007 and a runner-up in 1998 and 2000, is making his 16th straight appearance in this tournament, the longest current streak among Champions Tour players. He is the all-time money leader at this event with $1,108,188.

In 2006, Loren Roberts fired a course-record, 11-under-par 61 in the final round to win. It was the first of four victories for Roberts in 2006 on the Champions Tour. Roberts' 25-under-par 191 total tied the lowest 54-hole score in Champions Tour history and the 25-under is the best score in relation to par in the history of the elder circuit. Langer tied Roberts' 25-under mark in 2007 at the Administaff Small Business Classic and Frost also tied that mark in 2010 at the 3M Championship.

There have been just three playoffs in tournament history. The first was in 1987, when January bested Butch Baird with a birdie on the fourth extra hole. The second came in 1995 when Jim Colbert birdied the third extra hole to defeat Jim Albus. The last playoff was in 2005, when Quigley defeated Tom Watson on the third extra hole.

Hualalai Golf Club, which will be hosting the tournament for the 15th straight year, was designed by Jack Nicklaus. The East course at Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort in Puerto Rico had been the site for this event for two years, while La Costa Country Club in California hosted this tournament the first 11 years.

The par-three fifth hole was the 23rd hardest on the Champions Tour in 2010, playing to a stroke average of 3.324. There were only three birdies recorded at the fifth hole last year. The par-five 10th hole was the easiest hole on the Champions Tour in 2010, playing to a stroke average of 4.315.

Only once has the winner not finished in the top 31 on the money list at the end of the season (1994, Nicklaus - 34th). This is the first of 25 official events in the season-long competition for the Charles Schwab Cup. Langer won the Cup in 2010; Roberts won the Cup in 2007 and 2009; Jay Haas won the Cup in 2006 and 2008; Tom Watson won the Cup in 2003 and 2005, Irwin won the Cup in 2002 and 2004 and Allen Doyle won the inaugural competition in 2001.

In the previous 27 tournaments, the player who has led or been tied for the lead after 36 holes has won this event 17 times. However, in five of the last seven years, Fuzzy Zoeller (2004), Quigley (2005), Roberts (2006), Funk (2008) and Langer (2009) all came from behind in the final round to win.

In the last eight years, no winner has had a round of 70 or higher, and since the event moved to Hawaii in 1997 only one winner -- Irwin in 1997 -- has had a round over par (opening-round 73).

The Champions Tour remains in Hawaii next week for the Champions Skins Game in Maui, where Nicklaus and Tom Watson captured the 2010 event.

01/18 15:38:23 ET

As of January 18, 2011, at 03:38 PM ET