Sports: Toshiba Classic Returns to Newport Beach

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Jay Haas at the 2016 Toshiba Classic golf tournament, which he went on to win.
— Photo by Jim Collins ©

Dozens of PGA Tour legends are set to complete in the annual Toshiba Classic benefiting Hoag Hospital at the Newport Beach Country Club this weekend.

A slate of new programs designed to enhance spectator experience, as well a “powerful” PGA championship lineup competing for the $1.8 million purse, are sure to create another legendary local sporting event. 

The Toshiba Classic is the most philanthropic event in PGA Tour Champions history, according to officials. It will benefit Hoag’s Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center.

This year marks Hoag Hospital’s 20th anniversary as host, manager and beneficiary of the tournament, which generates more than $1 million annually for charity. Over the past two decades, the event has raised more than $20 million for Hoag and other local charities, Toshiba Classic Executive Director Jeff Purser explained in a prepared press release.

“We are proud to host the only official PGA TOUR Champions event in Orange County,” Purser said. “This is our annual opportunity to showcase the best of our community.”

The tournament draws more than 80,000 patrons, 200 sponsors and 1,000 volunteers every year, he added. Local hotel rooms, restaurants and other businesses also benefit from the influx of visitors in Newport Beach during the week, “providing an enormous influx of dollars into our local economy,” Purser commented.

In its history, the Toshiba Classic has brought players with more than 400 worldwide professional victories and over 50 major championships to Southern California, including 40 PGA TOUR Champions members in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

2015 Toshiba classic
— Photo by Jim Collins ©

In addition to Fred Couples, John Daly and defending champion, Jay Haas, 80 players are expected to compete in the 2018 tournament, including recognized stars like Bernhard Langer, Scott McCarron, Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara, Tom Lehman, Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin.

The Championship Weekend will kick off with the third annual Military Appreciation Day presented by Microsemi on Saturday, where all active and retired service members and up to three guests will receive complimentary admission plus food and beverage vouchers. Continuing with tradition, the tournament will provide funding to military causes, including the Open Hearts for Purple Hearts Foundation, 1/1 Foundation, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, and a military family will be chosen to receive direct financial support.

On Sunday, the second annual Student Day will give complimentary admission to students ages 18 and under. Family- friendly activities will include a Kids Fun Zone with games and prizes. All high school and middle school aged students in attendance will be invited to participate in a putting contest for chances to win scholarships, golf equipment, tickets to local attractions and more.

In advance of the tournament, the annual Breakfast with a Champion presented by Allergan was held Tuesday at the Balboa Bay Resort. Lanny Wadkins, 21-time PGA TOUR winner and 2009 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee, was this year’s Breakfast with a Champion Guest of Honor.

Wadkins is well-known for his television career. During his time on the PGA TOUR Champions, he divided his time between competing and broadcasting with CBS. Currently, Wadkins is The Golf Channel’s lead analyst. In addition, Ira Garbutt was recognized for serving as Tournament Chairman of the Toshiba Classic for the last 10 years.

Good-Any-One-Day tickets for the Toshiba Classic are available online before the event for $25. Tickets purchased at the Main Gate on the day of the event are $30. Tickets can also be purchased in advance at participating Roger Dunn Golf Stores.

Limited VIP opportunities are available as well. Organizers are offering fans the opportunity to watch the action from a luxury skybox perched over the water at the signature par-three 17th hole at Newport Beach Country Club. Also, daily clubhouse badges are offered for $75 each day, Friday – Sunday.

For more information, visit toshibaclassic.com or call (949) 660-1001.

Visitors watch as players practice putting in front of the Newport Beach Country Club this week in preparation for the 2018 annual Toshiba Classic golf tournament.
— Photo by Christopher Trela ©
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