Irwin Tries to Defend Nicklaus to Compete


The 2002 Ace Group Classic summed up the remainder of the year for three Champions Tour stars.
Hale Irwin and Tom Watson were tied for the lead in the final round when Watson hit his second shot on the par-5 17th into the water.
Irwin won the first of four titles in 2002; Watson collected the first of five runner-up finishes.
Meanwhile, Jack Nicklaus was forced to withdraw from the event due to back problems. The injury hampered him throughout the year and caused him to make just two official appearances on tour. Nicklaus is back in the field this week, hoping for a better performance this year.
The victory was Irwins second in this event, but the first at The Club at TwinEagles in Naples, Fla. His maiden triumph came in 1997 at Bay Colony Golf Club.
Irwin is one of four players in the tournaments 15-year history to notch a pair of wins. Lee Trevino won in 1990 and 91; Mike Hill in 93 and 94, and Gil Morgan in 98 and 2001.
TwinEagles will play host for the second straight year. The purse has been upped $100,000 to $1.6 million, with $240,000 going to the winner.
Related Links
  • Champions Tour Statistical Preview
  • Full coverage of the ACE Group Classic
  • Champions Tour Finds a New Home on The Golf Channel