Tucson – PGA TOUR Champions rookie Ernie Els, 2018 Cologuard Classic champion Steve Stricker, and two-time Masters champion José María Olazábal have committed to play in next week’s Cologuard Classic.
In addition, tournament officials also announced that Darren Clarke and John Daly will receive sponsor exemptions into the PGA TOUR Champions’ event.
The Cologuard Classic will be played February 26-March 1, 2020 at Omni Tucson National’s Catalina Course. A field of 78 players will vie for the $1.7 million purse with a first-place prize of $255,000.
PGA TOUR Champions golfers have until Friday, February 21 to commit to play in the Cologuard Classic. Therefore, the field will continue to change as players with higher priority rankings commit to play in the tournament.
Ernie Els makes his Tucson debut on the PGA TOUR Champions. Over his illustrious career, “The Big Easy” has 71 victories worldwide, including four major championships. In 2011, Els was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. This past December, Els captained the International Presidents Cup squad at Royal Melbourne. In his only other start on the PGA TOUR Champions, Els finished second to Miguel Angel Jiménez at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in January.
Two-time Masters champion (1994 and 99) José María Olazábal will be making his third appearance at the Cologuard Classic after finishing T33 in 2019 and T43 in 2018. In his fourth season on the PGA TOUR Champions, Olazábal has three top 10 finishes in 30 events played. In one start on the PGA TOUR Champions in 2020, Olazábal finished tied for fifth at the Morocco Championship.
Steve Stricker, the 2018 Cologuard Classic tournament champion, returns to Tucson for the fourth time with three top six finishes in his first three starts. In nine starts on PGA TOUR Champions in 2019, Stricker tallied two major victories (Regions Tradition, U.S. Senior Open) and six top-10s. The Cologuard Classic will be Stricker’s first start on the PGA TOUR Champions in 2020. He already has four starts on the PGA TOUR in 2020, with his best finish coming at last week’s Genesis Invitational where he tied for 56th. Stricker will captain the U.S. Ryder Cup Team at Whistling Straits in September.
In 2020, Darren Clarke enters his second full season on the PGA TOUR Champions. A native of Northern Ireland, Clarke competed in the 2019 Cologuard Classic finishing tied for second, four strokes behind winner Mark O’Meara. His 2019 season included four top 10 finishes, including a T10 at the Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex.
John Daly, 53, will be playing in his third career Cologuard Classic and his second on a sponsor exemption (2019). At last year’s Cologuard Classic Daly finished 76th and in 2018, he finished T71. He has one career PGA TOUR Champions victory at the 2017 Insperity Invitational. In 2019, he posted three top 10 finishes, including a T5 at the American Family Insurance Championship in June. To date in 2020, Daly has three starts on the PGA TOUR Champions, with his best finish a T23 at last week’s Chubb Classic.
In addition to Clarke and Daly, former MLB pitcher John Smoltz also received a sponsor exemption into the 2020 Cologuard Classic. Tournament officials have two sponsor exemptions left to award in the coming days.
Els, Olazábal, Stricker, Clarke and Daly join an impressive field at the 2020 Cologuard Classic that also includes defending champion Mark O’Meara; 2019 Charles Schwab Cup winner Scott McCarron; Cologuard ambassador Jerry Kelly; 40-time PGA TOUR Champions winner Bernhard Langer; the talented and charismatic Miguel Angel Jiménez; and 2017 tournament champion Tom Lehman.
Jiménez, Miguel Angel
Olazábal, José María
Pernice Jr., Tom
Short, Jr., Wes