The Chubb Classic on the PGA TOUR Champions tees off today on the Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II co-designed Talon Course at The Club at TwinEagles in Naples, Fla. The popular event turns 31 this year.
The collaboration by Jack and Jack II opened in 1999, and later that year hosted the Father/Son Challenge, which Jack and son Gary won. The Talon Course was then home to the PGA TOUR Champions from 2002 to 2006, and then in 2012, the tournament moved back to the top residential layout where it has been played ever since.
The southwest Florida Nicklaus Design course is on display on Golf Channel this weekend 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. ET both Saturday and Sunday.
Fan-favorite Fred Couples won his 12th senior tournament here last year, weeks before giving an impressive performance at the Masters. Couples is unable to defend his 2017 Chubb Classic title due to injury. Instead, names like Mark Calcavecchia, John Daly, Jay Haas, Lee Janzen, Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, Sandy Lyle, Steve Lowery, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara, Steve Stricker, and Ian Woosnam highlight this week’s field.
The tournament promises to be exciting from beginning to end. The course’s challenging 18th hole was part of Naples Daily News’ Collier County Dream 18. The dramatic finishing hole is a 4,457-yard par 4 with a water hazard in play.
“There’s a lot of holes that can bite you, but yeah, whenever there’s water in play they can bite you a little harder,” said Langer, a 36-time winner on the PGA TOUR Champions. “And 18 is often a tough tee shot the way the bunkers are angled, and there’s not just one bunker, there’s three on the left and they’re different distance, and then there’s two on the right and then there’s water as well. So it all depends on the wind.”
People will also be watching Stricker, as he makes his 2018 PGA TOUR Champions debut this week after captaining the winning U.S. team in the 2017 Presidents Cup. Stricker, who won the 2011 Memorial Tournament at Jack Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village Golf Club, seems to agree with Langer that at TwinEagles, it all comes down to weather.
“There are some driving holes that you can be aggressive on or you can lay back on, and I’m going to have to figure that out. A lot is going to be dependent on the wind and what direction the wind is blowing,” Stricker said. “There’s some cross bunkers, depending on tee locations, whether you’re going to be able to carry them or you’re going to have to lay back. So length I think is a big deal here. If you can pop it over some of those bunkers, you’re going to have an advantage. And drive it well. It’s pretty generous in the driving areas, but there are some that are a little tightish. So it looks like you’re going to have to pick and choose what you want to do.”
The Talon is one of the top residential golf courses in Southwest Florida. Links Magazine included the community in its list of the Best Communities for Golf in its 2015 Real Estate Issue. Golfweek also has ranked the Talon Course among its Best Residential Courses.
“We look forward to returning to Naples again for what’s been a great tournament,” PGA TOUR Champions Commissioner Greg McLaughlin said. “Chubb is a tremendous title sponsor for us. We love playing at TwinEagles. Our guys love the course and the clubhouse and really the great service. It’s our third event on the schedule and it’s a great way to kick off our year.
“When we came back around for a review, there were several clubs that were interested in hosting the event. We were really honored that TwinEagles was excited about having us back. We were quite appreciative to the board and the membership to allow us to return. Golf is very significant in Naples. There was a lot of interest in wanting to host the event.”
Nicklaus Design courses annually host more Tour events than any other design firm. In total, 153 Nicklaus Design courses have staged 1,029 Tour events—including 183 events on the PGA TOUR Champions.
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