A-lister Stenson brings more stardust to Bermuda Championship
After the announcement last week that four major winners will be making their way to the island, the 2020 Bermuda Championship had even more lustre added to it on Saturday when Henrik Stenson was confirmed in the final field of 132 for the $4 million purse at Port Royal Golf Course.
The 44-year-old Swede, who got to No 2 in the world rankings at the peak of his powers in 2014, captured the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland, and three years earlier won the FedEx Cup.
Deeper in Stenson’s pedigree are victories at the 2007 WGC-Accenture Match Play and 2009 The Players Championship, widely recognised as the unofficial fifth major.
His last victory came at the 2019 Hero World Challenge, the tournament hosted by Tiger Woods. That ended a barren run that had gone on for more than two years and reflects in his existing world ranking of No 53.
Stenson will be joined by fellow FedEx Cup winner Bill Haas, whose miraculous escape from the water to clinch that title in 2013 lingers in the memory.
That was a high-water mark in Haas’s career, and although his ranking has plummeted to 550, he has returned top-ten finishes in the US Open and Open Championship in recent times.
Luke Donald, ranked No 445, is another who has seen better times, but he is best known as an Englishman who played the bulk of his golf in the United States and then returned to stick the dagger in them come Ryder Cup time.
The former world No 1 last won anywhere in November 2013, at the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament on the Japanese tour. His last win on the PGA Tour came at the 2012 Transitions Championship, since which renamed the Valspar Championship.
The final late entry is Harold Varner III. A long hitter of the golf ball and seen as a fan favourite, Varner recorded his only win as a professional at the Australian Open in 2016, making him only the third black man to win on the European Tour — after Tiger Woods and South African Vincent Tshabalala.
But he came to greater prominence nearer to home in May last year when he was tied for second heading into the final round of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black course outside New York before fading badly in the company of champion Brooks Koepka to finish 36th.
The 30-year-old’s form since has been patchy, with one top-ten finish in 2020 out of 18 starts and eight missed cuts.
Not to be overlooked in the fuss over the new names is the return of 2019 champion Brendon Todd, who only a year earlier had contemplated giving up the game after a terrible spell of the yips.
The Atlanta, Georgia native’s career was reignited when he blitzed the Port Royal front nine on the final day to shoot 24 under par and beat frontrunner Harry Higgs by four strokes.
He backed that up the next week by taking the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico and then concluded a three-week path to redemption by going close at the RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club on St Simons Island, in Georgia.
The presence of four major winners in the field in Padraig Harrington, Danny Willett, Stewart Cink and Jason Dufner means there are threats to Todd all around, while others of repute include Charley Hoffman, Pat Perez, Graham DeLaet, Jonathan Byrd, Russell Knox, Jhonattan Vegas and Camilo Villegas, who may want to be remembered for more than his acrobatic Spiderman technique around the greens.
Three Bermuda players are in the field after finishing as the top three in the local qualifier. Camiko Smith won the two-round qualifier, while Michael Sims and Anthony Phipps were tied for second.
In addition to the prize money on offer, there are 500 FedExCup points available to the winner and an automatic spot in the 2021 Masters.
For the complete field list, click here.
Tickets have sold out for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, while fewer than 150 remain for Thursday. Daily general admission is $35. Tickets can be purchased online only; visit the tournament website at www.bermudachampionship.com/tickets, and will not be sold at the gate. All spectators, regardless of age, must have a ticket to access the grounds of Port Royal Golf Course.
Spectator protocols will include temperature checks, mandatory wearing of face masks upon entry and around the golf course, social distancing with six feet of separation, and the use of hand sanitiser, with units placed throughout the venue, including entrances, restrooms and concession locations. For the safety of spectators and players, autographs will not be permitted.
For the latest Bermuda Championship information, visit www.bermudachampionship.com. General inquiries may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.