Name change won’t detract from PGA Champions’ first main event

Defending champion Scott McCarron previews the first full field event on PGA Tour Champions while Eddie Carbone, the new tournament director of the Boca Raton Championship, looks on.

BOCA RATON, Florida – PGA Tour Champions had a popular kickoff to its season with the Allianz Championship on the North Course at Broken Sound Golf Club. That sponsorship ended after the 12th playing of the event last year, but – other than a name change to the Boca Raton Championship – the event will go on with no loss in momentum.

The tournament will again be the first full field event of the season for PGA Tour Champions. Tournament week is Feb. 5-11 after the circuit conducts two small field events – the Diamond Resorts Invitational celebrity event next week in Orlando and the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii from Jan. 15-20.

After those two events the circuit for 50-and-older stars will get into full swing albeit with some organizational changes.

Eddie Carbone, executive director of the U.S. Senior Open the last three years, has taken over as tournament director and the city of Boca Raton and its Parks and Recreation Department have stepped in to provide financial support. Sallyport, a global company that specializes in supporting military operations within complex environments, was named the presenting sponsor at. Wednesday’s media day kickoff.

“We’re entering a new era,’’ said Carbone, who had also spent a decade as executive director of the PGA Tour stop held at Trump National Doral near Miami. “We’re working hard to secure a new sponsor for 2019 and beyond.’’

Scott McCarron, who won last year with an eagle on the final hole, would like to take the champion’s trophy home from Broken Sound again.

Scott McCarron, the defending champion, is just happy the event is returning to Broken Sound.

“No one wants to lose this tournament. It’s a very popular tournament with PGA Champions players. We love coming here,’’ said McCarron, who thanked government officials for providing temporary financial support. “A lot of cities wouldn’t be willing to do that, and we want to keep this tournament going.’’

McCarron would also like to keep his hot streak, which started at Broken Sound last year, going as well.

He won at Broken Sound in dramatic fashion, hitting a 7-iron from 186 yards to six feet on the final hole and then holing the putt for eagle to nab a one-stroke victory over Kenny Perry and Carlos Franco. McCarron made two eagles in the final round en route to his sixth career win on PGA Champions.

Four of his victories came last year, when he led the circuit in birdies and eagles but couldn’t overhaul Boca Raton resident Bernhard Langer in the player-of-the-year race.

McCarron’s other wins included his first major title at the Constellation Senior Players Championship. That victory gets him into the PGA’s high-profile Players Championship with the PGA Tour’s best players at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, FL., in May. He’ll defend his Senior Players win from PGA Champions at Exmoor Country Club in Highland Park, IL., in July.