Six Former Masters Champs Confirmed for Insperity Invitational
THE WOODLANDS, TX–Days before their annual Champions Dinner at August National Golf Club, six former Masters Tournament winners confirmed they will tee it up at the 2019 Insperity Invitational presented by UnitedHealthcare in The Woodlands, TX, April 29 – May 5.
Tom Watson will lead a star-studded class of Masters champions who will bring nine Green Jackets with them to The Woodlands Country Club Tournament Course. Watson, who won the 1977 and 1981 Masters, will be joined by previously announced fellow-two-time winner, Bernhard Langer (1985, 1993), along with Jose Maria Olazabal, who was also fitted for two Green Jackets (1994, 1999). Mark O’Meara, whose first of two major titles came at the 1998 Masters, while 1991 Masters winner Ian Woosnam, will be looking for his second Insperity Invitational title. The five World Golf Hall of Fame Members will be joined by Larry Mize, who won the 1987 Masters in a thrilling playoff, back to The Woodlands.
“The Masters is symbolically the unofficial kick off to summer around the world, and it definitely signals the annual return of golf’s greatest names to The Woodlands,” said Bryan Naugle, Executive Director, Insperity Invitational. “Welcoming players like Tom, Bernhard, Jose, Mark, Ian, and Larry back to the Insperity Invitational is a huge win for our tournament. Not only do they rekindle special memories of their triumphs at Augusta for many of our spectators, but it allows them to create new ones for the young fans who take in our event each year.”
Watson has won 39 times on the PGA TOUR, including eight majors. In addition to his two Masters titles, he also captured five Claret Jugs as the British Open Champion (1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983) and won the 1982 US Open. Named Golfer of the Decade in the 1980’s for his 19 wins and 86 top-10 finishes, Watson is a six-time PGA TOUR Player-of-the-Year and was the leading money-winner five times throughout his career. After playing on four Ryder Cup teams for the United States (1977, 1981, 1983, 1989), Watson captained the 1993 Ryder Cup squad to a come-from-behind victory.
After making 43 appearances at the Masters Tournament, Watson is now most comfortable playing on the PGA TOUR Champions where he has won 14 times, including six senior major victories. He did capture the world’s attention one more time in 2009 when Mr. British Open lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink after leading the Open Championship until the 72nd hole.
“It is no secret the Insperity Invitational is regarded as one of the best events on the PGA TOUR Champions by the players and I’m excited to be coming back to The Woodlands,” said Watson. “I still enjoy preparing for a tournament and teeing it up competitively. I have not played in The Woodlands since 2009, but I know this remains a premiere event on Tour – be it the hospitality, the golf course, and of course the Greats of Golf. I am looking forward to being part of the show.”
Golf fans in Southern Texas will also get their first glimpse of one of Spain’s greatest ever, Jose Maria Olazabal. The 51-year-old Olazabal soared to the top of Spanish golf after racking up 30 wins worldwide while competing on both the European Tour and PGA TOUR. Olazabal’s major breakthrough came at the 1994 Masters where he captured his first of two Green Jackets. Exploiting one of the best short games in the business – a skill learned playing alongside his legendary countryman Seve Ballesteros – Olazabal put on a second Green Jacket five years later. Olazabal made his PGA TOUR Champions debut two years ago after being sidelined nearly four years while battling a severe form of arthritis that made it difficult for him to even walk.
Another fan-favorite, Mark O’Meara, who made his mark by winning the 1998 British Open, just three months after claiming the Masters, has also added his name to the Insperity Invitational tee sheet. A 16-time winner on the PGA TOUR, the Houston resident won for the third time ever on the PGA TOUR Champions last month at the Cologuard Classic. It was his first victory in nine years.
The only Augusta-born player to win the Masters Tournament, Larry Mize will make his ninth appearance at the Insperity Invitational. A four-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Mize has one victory on the senior swing.
Watson, Olazabal, O’Meara and Mize will be joined by Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam, who were both announced earlier this week with previous winners of the Insperity Invitational including: John Daly, Jesper Parnevik, Esteban Toledo, Fred Funk, Jay Haas and Mark McNulty.
A winner of 39 events on the PGA TOUR Champions, Langer became just the third player ever last year to win the same tournament four times or more in the history of the 50-and-over Tour, when he finished on top at The Woodlands Country Club Tournament Course.
Langer, along with Ian Woosnam, are amongst the “Big Five” generation of European golfers all born within 12 months of each other who have won majors. Woosnam, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017, shook off a troubling back injury in 2015 to lock up his lone victory on the senior swing.
A unique invitational format on the PGA TOUR Champions, there are seven categories of eligibility to compete in the prestigious event. Additional players will be announced over the next three weeks.
The Insperity Invitational offers free grounds only admission tickets courtesy of Insperity and Woodforest National Bank. The grounds ticket also includes free parking and shuttle service. General public parking will be at Woodforest Bank Stadium located at 19115 David Memorial Dr, Shenandoah, TX 77385. For updated information on all aspects of the Insperity Invitational, fans are encouraged to visit www.insperityinvitational.com.
A PGA TOUR Champions event, the Insperity Invitational presented by UnitedHealthcare features the world’s premier golfers age 50 and older. Last year’s tournament winner, Bernhard Langer, will be returning to the Insperity Invitational to defend his title April 29-May 5, 2019. Managed and operated by Pro Links Sports, in 2008, the tournament received the prestigious Presidents Award as the best event on the Champions Tour, and in 2011 received the President’s Award for Excellence in Achievement. In 2012 and 2015, the tournament received The Players Award for having the “best of everything” for the players, sponsors and spectators. Interfaith of The Woodlands, one of the local charities benefitting from the tournament, was named the 2016 PGA TOUR Champions Charity of the Year.
The Insperity Invitational is grateful to have support from these official corporate partners: Woodforest National Bank, 3M, United Airlines, Northside Imports Houston – Alfa Romeo, Keurig, Dr Pepper, Bai, National Car Rental, Sports Radio 610, 9 Iron Wines, and Vander Dys Fine Jewelers. Past champions include Larry Nelson, Jay Haas, Mark McNulty, four-time winner Bernhard Langer, John Cook, Fred Couples, Brad Faxon, Fred Funk, Esteban Toledo, Ian Woosnam and John Daly. For more information about the Tradition of Excellence at the Insperity Invitational, visit www.InsperityInvitational.com.
PGA TOUR Champions is a membership organization of professional golfers age 50 and older, including 32 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Tour’s mission is to provide financial opportunities for its players, entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back and generate significant charitable and economic impact in tournament communities. In 2019, the PGA TOUR Champions schedule includes 27 tournaments across the United States, Japan, England and Canada, with purses totaling nearly $58 million.
The Charles Schwab Cup, which includes the Regular Season and the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, is used to determine the season-long champion. All events are televised in the United States, with most receiving complete coverage on Golf Channel, the exclusive cable television partner of PGA TOUR Champions. Internationally, telecasts air in excess of 170 countries and territories, reaching more than 340 million potential households, and distributed in 15+ markets via GOLFTV. Follow PGA TOUR Champions online at www.PGATour.com.