Irwin has now won the tournament a record five consecutive times. He began his winning ways at the Turtle Bay championship in 2000 and has won every event since. He didnt win in 2004 because there was no Turtle Bay event.
If he wins it this year, though, he will have to overcome Loren Roberts. This will be Roberts third consecutive tournament in the islands this year, and his first two attempts were quite successful.
He opened the year with a tie for 18th in the PGA Tours Sony Open in Honolulu. Then came last week, when the 50-year-old switched over to the Champions and won the MasterCard Championship, setting a course record of 11-under-par 61 in the process. Roberts' 25-under-par 191 total tied the lowest 54-hole score in Champions Tour history, and the 25 under is the best score in relation to par in the history of the elder circuit.
Roberts played in only six senior events last year, but he finished in the top five in five of them and won a Champions Tour major ' the JELD-WEN Tradition the last week in September.
While Roberts has obviously attained the age when he can play with the seniors, his score at the Sony wont let him make the transition fully from the PGA Tour to the Champions. He admits that it is difficult for him to let go of the junior tour.
You know, it is a dilemma for me right now because I still feel like I can be competitive on the regular tour, said Roberts at the U.S. Senior Open last year. You know, there are certain golf courses that I can be competitive on on the regular Tour. I still want to play the regular tour.
However, I do realize I'm 50 and I don't want to burn some early years doing the Champions Tour when I know I can really be competitive out here, so it's a bit of a dilemma for me to decide. I still have a lot of friends on the regular tour, and I like to compete, I enjoy competing, and I'm just going to that's why I'm just taking it a month at a time, just to see what I want to do.
The T18 at the Sony was plenty good enough to leave him dangling, though he thoroughly enjoys competing among the seniors.
I'm definitely not going to be someone that's going to stick around on a regular tour just to finish in the top 125, he said. The minute I don't feel like I am competitive enough to have a chance to win a golf tournament out there, I'm going to leave and I will play the Champions Tour full time.