Hale Irwin, John Cook headed to inaugural Montreal Championship

Ex-Canadian Open winner, all-time Champions Tour money leader among first wave of players to commit to Canada's lone Champions Tour stop

MONTREAL, March 17 /CNW Telbec/ - John Cook already knows what it feels like to win in Canada.

Hale Irwin, on the other hand, does not, although he has won pretty well everywhere else over a 42-year Hall of Fame pro career. This summer, Irwin would like nothing more than to add a piece of made-in-Canada hardware to his trophy case.

Cook and Irwin, who have won a combined 36 times on the PGA Tour, are among the first wave of stars to commit to the $1.8 million US Montreal Championship, which marks the return of the Champions Tour to Canada for the first time in eight years. The inaugural championship, showcasing 78 legends from the Champions Tour, will be staged July 2-4 at Fontainebleau Golf Club in Blainville.

"We are thrilled with the news that John Cook and Hale Irwin have confirmed they will coming to Montreal this summer," said Montreal Championship Tournament Director David Skitt. "These players have outstanding resumes highlighted by brilliant careers on the PGA Tour and we know they will put on a show for Quebec golf fans."

Nearly three decades after claiming the 1983 Canadian Open at Glen Abbey, Cook might be considered one of the favourites once he touches down in Montreal. The 11-time PGA Tour champion has won four times on the Champions Tour since 2007, including the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship that capped off a pair of 2009 triumphs. That victory vaulted Cook into third spot on the Champions Tour money list.

"These player commitments are just the start of what we know will be star-studded field consisting of the top legends from the Champions Tour," added Skitt.

When it comes to forecasting the starting field for the Montreal Championship, Skitt would know better than most. Skitt and Tournament Chairman Ronald Corey recently jetted to Florida to meet with Champions Tour players during the Allianz Championship and were overwhelmed by the response from the tour's brightest stars.

Irwin, the runaway leader in career Champions Tour wins (45) and the circuit's all-time money leader, has won an astonishing 65 times on the PGA and Champions Tours. A three-time winner of the U.S. Open and a five-time member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, Irwin also prevailed at the U.S. Senior Open in 1998 and 2000.

In 2000, Golf Digest ranked Irwin as the 19th greatest-player of all time, eight years after he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Twenty-seven years after winning at Glen Abbey, John Cook will be looking to pop the cork in Canada yet again.

Hale Irwin just wants a chance at that long-overdue triumph north of the border.

EXPOGOLF 2010

The 9th annual Acura ExpoGolf 2010 will be held March 19-21 at Forzani Place in Laval, Quebec. Please stop by the Montreal Championship booth to purchase tickets for the 2010 Montreal Championship. Those interested in getting inside the ropes with the legends of the Champions Tour may also register to be a volunteer during tournament week.

About the Montreal Championship

The inaugural 54-hole Montreal Championship featuring a 78-player star-studded field will be conducted July 2-4, 2010 at Fontainebleau Golf Club. The Champions Tour collectively has the most recognizable and accomplished players in the game, with 16 World Golf Hall of Fame Members actively competing in its events as well as golf legends that have combined to win close to 100 PGA Tour major championships. Among major champions now competing on the Champions Tour are Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Corey Pavin, Bernhard Langer, Nick Price and Mark O'Meara.

SOURCE CHAMPIONS TOUR MONTREAL

For further information: For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: Bernard Brisset, Communications Director, Synchro Sports, (514) 949-2327, bbrisset@synchrosports.ca; Marty Henwood, Communications Manager, Synchro Sports, mhenwood@synchrosports.ca

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CHAMPIONS TOUR MONTREAL

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