John Daly, one of the biggest hitters to play golf and certainly among the most audacious in terms of personality, has been confirmed as a competitor at Bear Mountain for the 2016 Pacific Links PGA Tour Champions event, which has a prize purse of $2.5-million US.
Daly became eligible for the seniors Tour when he turned 50 on April 28 and already has two top-20 finishes in his first six starts on the PGA Tour Champions, which features the PGA Tour stars of the past.
“Golf courses now suit the longer hitters and [Daly] is the first guy to play this modern game,” said PGA Tour Champions player Paul Goydos, who was in Victoria on Monday to promote the start of ticket sales for the Bear Mountain tournament, Sept 19 to 25. Tickets are $40 daily, $99 for the week, $200 for VIP or $25 for Pro/Am only and are available through Select Your Tickets.
“John Daly has won two majors and has been revolutionary in our game but never gets credit for that. Golf is buttoned up. Daly is unbuttoned. We are in the entertainment business and John is entertaining,” Goydos said.
The same can be said of Goydos, one of only six players ever to shoot a round of 59 in a PGA Tour event. He became the fourth player, and the oldest at 46, to do so, at the 2010 John Deere Classic.
Goydos, who has won twice on the PGA Tour and twice on the PGA Tour Champions, said the golfers are going to love Bear Mountain.
“It will show well on TV [the Golf Channel will broadcast the tournament]. The players will want to play every event here,” said Goydos, 52, who won the 2014 Pacific Links tournament when it was held in Hawaii.
Goydos, who had a famous close call on the PGA Tour in losing The Players Championship in 2008 in a playoff to Sergio Garcia, finished playing the PGA Tour Champions’ American Family Insurance event Sunday afternoon in Madison, Wisconsin, and was in Victoria on Monday morning.
“One hundred years ago, it would have taken a whole lifetime to go from Madison to Victoria. To sit in a plane now is easy,” he mused.
The engaging Goydos, featured prominently in John Feinstein’s bestseller A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour, is often touted as a potential TV colour analyst for golf, something he has dabbled in occasionally. But don’t look for that move to the booth anytime soon.
“I like to play golf. I don’t like having a boss,” said Goydos.
Confirmed for the Bear Mountain tournament are Daly, Goydos and other past PGA Tour mainstays Mark Calcavecchia, Jeff Sluman, Larry Mize and Bob Tway. More will be announced over the summer as the 81-player field fills out.
“Interest is very high because most of the players have not been to Victoria before,” said Charles Lorimer, chief operating officer of Pacific Links International.
“The field will be very strong to sensational.”
Bear Mountain is a member of Pacific Links International, which operates golf courses around the world. The company is owned by Du Sha, a Canadian citizen and Chinese entrepreneur, who lives in Toronto.
The tournament was moved to Bear Mountain after the original host, the 27 Club in Tianjin, China, had to back out because of chemical explosions at that city’s docks last August that killed nearly 200 people. That led to a question Monday about the future of the tournament.
“We would love to see this [at Bear Mountain] as a fixture on the PGA Tour Champions going forward,” said David Clarke, chief financial officer of Ecoasis, the company which operates Bear Mountain.
Pacific Links is in the fourth year of a six-year deal with the PGA Champions Tour with renewal an option. The sites for the 2017 and 2018 Pacific Links Championship tournaments have not been determined.
When asked if the Pacific Links Championship will return to Bear Mountain beyond this year, Lorimer said: “The possibility is there.”
The Bear Mountain tournament is the second Champions Tour event in Canada and will follow the U.S. Shaw Charity Classic, with a $2.35-million prize purse, Sept. 2-4 at Canyon Meadows near Calgary.