Six more major winners join Ally Challenge field; local pros get spots, too

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Six more major champions have committed to playing in next week's Ally Challenge at Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc, including Bernhard Langer, one of the most dominant players in Champions Tour history.

Langer, a Masters winner, joined Ernie Els (U.S. Open, British Open), Davis Love III (PGA), Sarnia's Mike Weir (Masters), Darren Clarke (British Open) and David Toms (PGA) is entering the field.

Also, the tournament awarded exemptions to a pair of local golfers: Oakhurst Golf & Country Club's George Bowman and Traverse City Golf & Country Club's Scott Hebert.

Ernie Els committed to The Ally Challenge.

“Playing in The Ally Challenge ... fulfills another professional dream,” Bowman, a native of Flushing and head pro at Oakhurst since 1998, said in a statement. “I consider this the ultimate chance to compete against this level of competitor again, especially in my hometown, in front of friends and family."

Said Hebert, eight-time PGA Section player of the year who's one of three golfers to win the PGA Professional National Championship and Senior PGA Professional National Championship: "I am looking forward to returning to Warwick Hills where I played my first PGA Tour event many years ago. Playing in front family, friends and the great golf fans in the state of Michigan on a huge stage will be a thrill.”

Hebert, a Ferris State alum, is a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. He played four times in the PGA Tour's old Buick Open, held at Warwick.

The fourth annual Ally Challenge is set for Aug. 27-29, and will mark the return of fans, as well as defending champion Jim Furyk, who won in his Champions Tour debut at Warwick last year. Furyk is another major champion in the field, having won the U.S. Open.

"I quickly learned how much I enjoyed playing the Champions Tour," Furyk told The News recently. He's made more than $2.5 million at Warwick, including his 15 appearances on the PGA Tour.

Langer, 63, has 41 Champions Tour victories, second only to Hale Irwin's 45. He doesn't have a win this calendar year, a first since he joined the 50-and-older circuit.

Lake Orion's Tom Gillis also will be in the field, as he attempts to maintain his card for next season.

The Ally Challenge was played without fans last year, but will have no capacity limits this year. On Saturday of tournament week, there will be a celebrity exhibition match featuring golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino, as well as Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo.

The Ally Challenge

When: Aug. 27-29

Where: Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, Grand Blanc

Purse: $2 million (winner: $300,000)

2020 winner: Jim Furyk


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Twitter: @tonypaul1984