Ally Challenge Pre-Tournament Day 1

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Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, Grand Blanc, MI — July 29, 2020

In the age of coronavirus, everything is different. Sports especially have been impacted by the difficulties of the current pandemic. This week the PGA Tour Champions return to action for the first time since the March 6-8, Hoag Classic in Newport Beach, CA. There is no better place to reboot the season than the Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc, MI.

The Ally Challenge tees off Friday through Sunday and a full-field is entered, eager to get back on the links in competition. Unfortunately, the tournament will be played without fans in attendance. Which is really a shame. In its infancy, the Ally Challenge has received tremendous support from the local community making it a premier event on the PGA Tour Champions circuit both in charitable donations and attendance.

The Ally Challenge at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club / Lasco Press Photo

Live Television Coverage

Media coverage has also changed. During past tournaments, the action was broadcast on the Golf Channel on a taped delay basis. This year’s coverage is live with the following schedule.

Friday, July 31
11:30 am – 1:30 pm | Golf Channel
Saturday, August 1
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm | Golf Channel
Sunday, August 2
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm | Golf Channel

The Lasco Press is fortunate to be Live On-Site this week and we will provide daily coverage. Strict safety protocols are in place to protect players, staff, and support personnel and photographs may reflect some of the precautions.

First Time Players on the PGA Tour Champions

K.J. Choi, Jim Furyk, and Mike Weir are making their PGA Tour Champions debut at the Ally Challenge. According to the PGA Tour, “Choi won The Players Championship in 2011 and is the most successful Asian player on the PGA Tour with eight victories.

K.J. Choi / Lasco Press Photo

Furyk is a 17-time PGA Tour winner and he will join Vijay Singh as FedExCup champions competing on PGA Tour Champions. Weir is the only Canadian to win a PGA TOUR major and has eight wins total.”

Vijay Singh works on his putting on the practice green. / Lasco Press Photo

The “rookie class” also includes Ernie Els, Tim Herron, Robert Karlsson, and Brett Quigley, all who have already played in Champions events this year.

Wednesday’s Happenings 

The Pro-Am tournaments started today and will continue through Thursday, allowing golfers some practice time in a competitive environment and raising funds for charity. Several competitors took the opportunity to hit the putting green, chipping area, and driving range to work on their game.

Media interviews were scheduled for Mike Weir, Bernhard Langer, and Jack Nicklaus. Interviews were held outside instead of the Media Center to avoid close contact indoors. The complete transcript of each interview is posted at the end of the article.

Mike Weir – This weekend will be Weir’s debut on the PGA Tour Champions circuit. He talked about his familiarity with the course, how it’s like the area he grew up in (Sarnia, Ontario). Weir also commented on his preparations to join the PGA Tour Champions.

Mike Weir / Lasco Press Photo

Bernhard Langer – “It’s the longest break I ever had in my 44 years of professional golf. Yeah, very unprecedented times…” said Langer. Who spoke about what he has been doing during the shutdown. Langer also commented on his longevity in the game and lifestyle choices that have allowed him to be competitive at an age (62).

Bernhard Langer / Lasco Press Photo

Jack Nicklaus – After playing the Celebrity Challenge at last year’s tournament, Jack returned this year to promote the Ally Challenge and check in on son Gary, who was is playing this weekend. He related the COVID experience he endured with his wife Barbara(both tested positive in March) and told stories about the game he truly loves.

Jack Nicklaus / Lasco Press Photo

Click at the bottom of each article for navigation links to multiple pages.

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