The three winners of the Shaw Charity Classic – Rocco Mediate, Fred Couples, and Jeff Maggert – have announced they are returning to the tournament.
Mediate, who narrowly lost the 2008 U.S. Open to Tiger Woods, was a popular winner in the inaugural Shaw Champions Tour event, followed by Couples, a Masters winner who had a career final round to edge Billy Andrade.
Maggert, who has excelled since joining the Champions Tour, won last year’s event.
Maggert praised the Calgary tournament in an interview, saying Canyon Meadows, which has held the tournament since its inception, is a shotmaker’s course with a strong finish. His victory in Calgary came in his second appearance at the tournament, and in a stretch where he won three times over a few weeks.
Maggert said he could only recall one other time in his lengthy golfing career when he’d had such success with a game that challenges the best in the world.
“When I played on the Hogan Tour – what’s now the Nationwide Tour – at the start of my career, I had a stretch like that, but it doesn’t happen very often,” Maggert said.
This year, Maggert has played in two regular PGA Tour events – the U.S. Open at Oakmont and RBC Heritage. But Maggert admits it is a challenge playing on the regular tour against players like Dustin Johnson, who regularly hit the ball well over 300 yards.
“What I saw at the U.S. Open was guys with so much power that they hit it light years ahead of me,” he said. “The guys don’t bomb it 350 yards on the Champions Tour, but from fairway to green, there isn’t that much difference. The players out here are really exceptional.”
Couples has struggled with back injuries this year and played infrequently. He had to withdraw from the Masters in April because the back injury recurred. He’s not played on the Champions Tour since February but he’s pledged to return to Calgary whenever he’s capable, and that includes this year when the tournament kicks off Sept. 2.
“Calgary has been a very enjoyable place for me. I have always said that I really like the course and I feel like I can play it well,” Couples said in a statement. “To win in 2014 was such a great feeling. As long as I’m healthy I plan on coming to Calgary every year. The people at Shaw are incredible. The crowds are huge and the course is always in great shape. Hopefully we can put on another great show in August.”
Couples’ win was his 11th on the Champions Tour, in addition to his 15 PGA Tour wins, including the 1992 Masters.
Mediate missed last year’s tournament with a family matter, but said he’s looking to return to the site of his seven-shot victory three years ago when he tied the lowest 54-hole total on the Champions Tour at 22-under par.
“I have had good days, but never weeks like I had in 2013,” he said. “That was my lowest score ever in three days. It was one of those things where you get done and you’re like, ‘What the heck did I shoot?’ Everything was going, a lot of things happened that year. It was just freaky.”