128-player field to also feature Justin Rose, Retief Goosen, Charles Howell III, Jonathan Byrd and Gary Woodland, along with returning champion Robert Garrigus
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Oct. 14, 2011) — One pro golfer’s dream of being the top player in the world will come true at the 41st Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Walt Disney World Resort Oct. 20-23, as Luke Donald and Webb Simpson take to the Palm and Magnolia Courses to settle the top spot on the PGA TOUR‘s annual money list.
The No. 1 World Ranked Donald is playing for a chance to make history, trying to become the first player to win the money list on the PGA TOUR and European Tour. For the first time since 2003, the PGA TOUR money title is coming down to the final event, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Positioned first and second on the money list, Donald and Simpson are joined in the hunt for the $4.7 million tournament purse by 2011 PGA TOUR event winners Justin Rose (BMW Championship), Michael Bradley (Puerto Rico Open), Jonathan Byrd (Hyundai Tournament of Champions), Scott Piercy (Reno-Tahoe Open), Scott Stallings (The Greenbrier Classic), Johnson Wagner (Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun) and D.A. Points (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am).
‘This is easily the best field since the Fall Series move. We have more than 30 players who have won over $1 million in 2011, and a field that, collectively, has won in excess of $100 million in prize money this year.’
— Tournament Director Kevin Weickel
Adding to the season finale excitement, Bill Lunde currently leads the battle for the $1 million winner-takes-all Kodak Challenge by two strokes over Cameron Tringale and Josh Teater, who birdied the par-4 on the Seaside Course in the McGladrey Classic to pull into a tie for second. Several other players are fighting to finish the year among the TOUR’s Top 125 money list.
This year’s field includes defending champion Robert Garrigus and six other former Disney Classic champions (Davis Love III, Stephen Ames, Joe Durant, Jeff Maggert, Ryan Palmer and David Duval), eleven past major winners (Duval, Rich Beem, Steve Elkington, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Lehman, Ben Curtis, Goosen, Shaun Micheel, Leonard, Love and Immelman), and ten players who have earned more than $2 million on tour this year (Simpson, Donald, Rose, Byrd, Charles Howell III, Spencer Levin, John Senden, Gary Woodland, Tommy Gainey and Points).
Beem received the fourth and final sponsor exemption. He has three PGA TOUR wins including the Kemper Open (1999), The International (2002) and a major championship win at the PGA Championship (2002) in which he beat out Tiger Woods by one stroke. Beem, who returns to Disney for the 11th time, is joining previously announced sponsor-exempt Rod Pampling, Tom Lehman and Joe Ogilvie. The complete field can be found at pgatour.com.
The two-day pro-am field, which will compete Thursday and Friday of tournament week on both the Palm and Magnolia courses, is set to be headlined by Head Coach of the Boston Celtics Doc Rivers, former Super Bowl star Jerome “The Bus” Bettis (Pittsburgh Steelers), ex-NBA player Alonzo Mourning (Miami Heat), Celtics’ sharp-shooter Ray Allen, Tampa Bay Rays star Johnny Damon and future NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks (Tampa Bay Bucs).
This year’s “Miracle Story” Ashtyn Brown will also compete in the pro-am. Brown, who was treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals years ago, is now a scholarship golfer at Ball State University. Other notable pro-am entries include Super Bowl XXIX Champion William Floyd, Steve Young (ex-49ers QB), James Shields (Tampa Bay Rays), B. J. Upton (Tampa Bay Rays), David Price (Tampa Bay Rays), former Major League Baseball player Fred “Crime Dog” McGriff and Carlos Pena (Chicago Cubs).
The winner of this year’s Classic will join an impressive group of former champions, including golf legends Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Jack Nicklaus, Payne Stewart and Raymond Floyd.
Tournament rounds on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 will begin at 7:50 a.m. on both the Magnolia and Palm courses. At the conclusion of the second round, the field will be cut to the low 70 scores for the weekend rounds on the Magnolia course. All four rounds will be televised live on The Golf Channel from 2-5 p.m. ET, but fans in attendance can also experience the Wine & Dine Walk – offering culinary pairings of tapas-sized appetizers, entrees, desserts and wines from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
Tickets for individual rounds ($10), week-long badges ($20) and a new one-day Wine & Dine ticket ($30) are available at www.ChildrensMiracleNetworkClassic.com or through www.ticketmaster.com. All net proceeds from the tournament go to Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, including the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando, and Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville.
Follow @DisneySports on Twitter for #CMNHclassic news and updates throughout tournament week.