In the last local public event before the coronavirus shutdown in 2020, PGA Tour Champions rookie Ernie Els notched his first win in three starts on the senior circuit at the Hoag Classic at Newport Beach Country Club.

Now, after last year’s Hoag Classic cancellation, Orange County’s only PGA tournament returns following a two-year hiatus. And, while most of the marquee names on the Champions Tour are expected to tee it up March 2-6, the winner every year is the venerable golf course at the Newport Beach Country Club, one of the oldest clubs in Orange County.

Since Newport Beach began hosting the tournament in 1996 (formerly known as the Toshiba Classic), Champions Tour golfers have raved about the conditions and senior-friendly layout of the course, built in 1953-54.

“It’s the perfect seniors golf course,” two-time Champions Tour Player of the Year Jim Colbert said, referring to the 6,601-yard layout, the second-shortest competitive venue on the tour.