The PGA Champions tour will return to the Old Course at Broken Sound this month with a new name, the Oasis Championship.
Defending champion and Palm Beach County local Mark Calcavecchia will compete to be the first ever repeat winner in the event.
“I never defended a tournament,” he told the crowd during the annual media day, which takes place about three weeks before the event.
The players will return to Boca Raton from Feb. 4-10. There will be a women’s clinic, Pro-Ams, and then the tournament play as well as other events.
“I do love it here,” he said of the course. “It’s one of my favorite courses I play on the tour. It’s a treat to play, it’s a fun course.”
He thanked the city of Boca Raton for stepping in last year with extra funding so that he had a title to defend this year.
The event lost its longtime sponsor, Allianz, so the city stepped in and funded a gap in what money was needed to put on the event.
“I am so thankful to be here, and for another three years at least,” he said.
New sponsor, Oasis, has committed to sponsoring the event for three years. It also decided to keep the event at Boca’s Broken Sound Club course.
“Oasis was founded in Palm Beach County 20 years ago,” Oasis COO Kelley Castell said. “It’s an honor to be a part of the community and this tournament.”
Calcavecchia’s win was his first win on the Championship Tour. He did it with his wife Brenda by his side as his caddy.
“It meant a lot to win here at home,” he said. “I thought it was mine to win from the get go.”
He will be joined by players Scott McCarron, Fred Couples, Esteban Toledo, John Daly, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bernhard Langer, John Cook and Fred Funk.
“The guys love coming here to play,” Calcavecchia said. “A lot of guys live up north, dummies, they can’t wait to get here. I love Palm Beach County and I love playing here.”
Mayor Scott Singer said the tournament allows the city of Boca to be exposed to 75 million homes who will tune into the Golf Channel to watch their favorite player.
“We want corporate executives from Philly or New Jersey who are watching the tournament after digging out snow to want to come here,” Singer said.
He called the tournament a great economic driver for the city. The course is lined by corporate offices and class A office space.
“February is a great time for our city to be on display when people are watching at home in however many inches of snow,” he said. “This tournament is one of the most exciting weeks in Boca Raton.”
The week kicks off on Feb. 4 and it is all about women that day. There is brunch, a private clinic and then Pro-Am with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. On Feb. 5, practice rounds begin at 8 a.m. and then the draw party takes place at 6:30 p.m. Pro-Ams will take place on Feb. 6 and 7 with a morning and afternoon start time.
Foodies can sign up for Fairways and Filets on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. or for Grapes on the Green on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m., after the first round of championship play.
The second round will take place on Feb. 9 at 9:40 a.m., following by a volunteer party and then the final round will begin Feb. 10 at 7:15 a.m.
Rounds will be televised on the Golf Channel. The course is open all week to the public. Admission is free Monday-Thursday. On weekends, seniors, 70 and above get in complimentary with valid identification as well as children 18 and any veteran, active duty or reserve military members. Free tickets are sponsored by Aetna.