King of Bear Mountain, Colin Montgomerie, will defend Champions Tour crownPosted on December 15, 2016
Story by: Times Colonist
World Golf Hall of Famer Colin Montgomerie says he is more than excited to be heading back to the Greater Victoria Area next September to defend his 2016 Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship crown.
Montgomerie, who thanks to the $375,000 US first-place cheque of the $2.5-million purse was propelled to a second-place overall finish in this year’s Charles Schwab Cup standings behind Bernhard Langer, said the PGA Tour Champions field next year should even be stronger.
The additions of tour new-comers Davis Love III, David Toms and Steve Stricker, and possibly a healthy Fred Couples — who hails from the Pacific Northwest — would make the Bear Mountain Resort event, slated for Sept. 11-17, that much more impressive.
“When you add these three, you’ve got a hell of a team, and let’s hope Fred Couples is fit. He’s a real crowd favourite and it’s great to see that we can have people of that stature playing,” Montgomerie, 53, said during a conference call Thursday from what he described as a dark, drizzly and horrid December day in Britain.
“I am adamant that this will be an even stronger, better field than last year and therefore has the potential to be a better, stronger event.”
Bear Mountain officials confirmed on Tuesday that the event will return to the PGA Tour Champions schedule for 2017, a story that broke last week.
Montgomerie outlasted American Scott McCarron on the third playoff hole in this September’s tournament, using a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to clinch the title. After starting the day three shots back of McCarron, Montgomerie made a hard charge in the third and final round.
Opening with birdies on three of the first four holes, he reeled in McCarron, who suffered a bogey on the final hole in regulation, caught under a tree on the right side of the fairway off his tee shot.
“I had to do something quickly. And when you’re starting behind, you have to put pressure on whoever you’re playing against … I managed to do that,” Montgomerie said of the win at what he described as an awesome backdrop displayed in all its glory on The Golf Channel.
“All the credit to Pacific Links and Bear Mountain for getting together and deciding that this was a great venue,” Montgomerie said. “I speak on behalf of all the players in saying that we were all enamoured with the place. We talk about that billion-dollar view from the 14th hole there, overlooking Canada, America and the city of Victoria — it was a marvellous place.
“Obviously, it will always be a very special place for me. It was my first three-round event win on PGA Tour Champions, with the others in majors (72-hole events). It took 57 holes in the end, but we got there,” he said, referencing the playoff.
“It was superb, and I think all the players are speaking very fondly of the whole resort and golf course and the way it was presented.”
The 2016 event drew the likes of Montgomerie, Langer, Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara, Fred Funk, Paul Goydos and popular Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, who shot a course record 61 on the final day. The two biggest names missing were John Daly and Jesper Parnevik, who both withdrew.
Organizers said the tournament drew 27,000 spectators for the week and was supported by more than 600 volunteers, which made the event possible. All three rounds were broadcast live by the Golf Channel to more than 200 million homes in 84 countries and brought tremendous economic support to Langford and the region.
Tickets for 2017 are already available for a limited pre-sale period until Dec. 31 that includes a 15 per cent discount online at selectyourtickets.com/promo with the code: TEESTHESEASON.