The Chubb Classic had one of its biggest crowds ever last year.
And one of the reasons for that is coming back.
John Daly has committed to next week’s PGA Tour Champions event at TwinEagles Club. Daly, one of the most popular golfers in the game, tied for 30th last year behind champion Fred Couples, another popular player.
Daly won his first PGA Tour Champions event 2 1/2 months after that at the Insperity Invitational and ended the year with a tie for fourth at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
“Having John Daly in the field is exciting,” tournament director Matt Hilliker said. “We did have our biggest crowds last year. I’m not saying it was because John Daly was in the field, but I think that definitely helps because he has a big following.”
Hilliker said Couples has yet to commit, but that is fairly typical because of his ongoing back issues. Friday is the entry deadline.
“We haven’t heard on Freddie yet,” Hilliker said. “We’re hoping to have him back.”
David Toms, Woody Austin, Tom Lehman, Brandt Jobe, Paul Goydos, Ian Woosnam, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O’Meara, Steve Lowery, Jesper Parnevik, Scott Parel, and 2017 Charles Schwab Cup winner Kevin Sutherland also were announced as committing Monday.
Three-time winner Bernhard Langer, Rookie of the Year Jerry Kelly, and Miguel Angel Jimenez were among those previously announced.
“We’ve got a very strong field—33 out of the top 36 last year, six members of the World Golf Hall of Fame,” Hilliker said.
Also on Monday, the tournament did something different with its Media Day, hosting it at the PGA Tour Superstore and opening it to the public.
Fans mingled with tour golfer David Frost and sampled some of his wine offerings, and hit drives and closest-to-the-pin shots on simulators.
Frost, 58, actually has twice as many PGA Tour victories as Daly (10 to 5, albeit Daly has two majors) and the South African who lives across the state has six on the Champions Tour. The regular tour win total is more than Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Retief Goosen, and Jay Haas.
One of Frost’s victories was when he holed out a bunker shot on the final hole to beat Greg Norman in New Orleans.
“I had missed seven cuts in a row going into that tournament, and I made the cut and won the tournament,” said Frost, who won the Region Tradition, a senior major, in 2013. “I believe anything can happen (in golf) at any time.”
But his thriving wine business —he sold 20,000 cases at Trader Joe’s last year — is more than a nice career supplement. He also his wines at ABC Liquors and Total Wine.
Frost, who had five top-10s on the tour last year, grew up on a grape farm — “it was harder finding those balls in the plowing season,” he said. His dad put up a fishing net between two trees so he could practice.
“I was the first golfer to get into wine, and everybody followed me,” he said.
Frost is a third generation vintner, so it’s not something that he’s just dabbled in.
“You know how grapes grow. You know how they suffer. You know when they ripen,” he said.