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Transitions Championship Announces Strongest Field to Date and a Vision Like No Other on the PGA TOUR(R)

INNISBROOK, Fla., Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Transitions Optical, The Copperheads and Innisbrook Resort today announced a field representing the world's finest and details of an enhanced week-long tournament experience for players and spectators, alike -- all focused on reinforcing the connection between healthy sight and optimum sports performance.

Most of the 2009 field is expected to return, including Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Kenny Perry (all ranked in the top 13 players in the world in the latest Official World Golf Rankings) as well as recent past champions Retief Goosen (2009) and Sean O'Hair (2008).

In addition, several other players are expected to return including Sergio Garcia, 2009 British Open champ Stewart Cink, 2008 Masters Open champ Trevor Immelman, Justin Leonard and Luke Donald.  Geoff Ogilvy and Vijay Singh are two other prominent players who have made verbal commitments.

Sponsor exemptions have been accepted by two foreign players who rank among the top 40 in the Official World Golf Rankings -- Ross Fisher and Ryo Ishikawa.

Ishikawa, who made his first cut on the PGA TOUR® at last year's Transitions Championship, is set to meet his young rival on the Japan Tour, Yuta Ikeda, who just accepted a special commissioner's foreign exemption.

Fisher, from England, is the only player to finish in the top 30 of all four Major Championships last year.

"We cannot be more proud of how this field is shaping up," said Gerald Goodman, tournament director.  "It will be a fierce competition among the world's best players right here in the Tampa Bay area.  What differentiates this tournament from others is that the Transitions Championship is much more than a golf tournament -- it's an opportunity for the entire family to come out to one of the best courses and participate in activities and experiences that are relevant for players and spectators -- while enjoying some of the world's best golf."

David Duval, who finished second last week at the AT&T, John Daly, Chris DiMarco and Rocco Mediate are other players who have accepted sponsor exemptions.

The Copperhead course, regarded by PGA TOUR® players as one of the favorites, features some of the most difficult finishing holes on TOUR.  The 16th, 17th and 18th holes rank among the fourth hardest set of finishing holes on any PGA TOUR® course.  These three holes, today, have officially been named "The Snake Pit" and as such, a permanent structure has been created to remind players and spectators alike of the Copperhead's challenging finish.

The Snake Pit will be available to the public for preview during the "Live Your Vision Family Walk," which will kick off the Transitions Championship on Sunday, March 14.  The Walk will benefit Prevent Blindness Florida and participants will have the opportunity to walk the course the pros play and enjoy a family BBQ and entertainment by Radio Disney.

Throughout tournament week, Transitions -- along with many of their optical industry partners -- will offer a unique spectator experience behind the 18th green called the "Healthy Sight Village," which will contain a much expanded "Live Your Vision Pavilion," an exciting consumer destination for information, education and hands-on experiences, including sports-vision demonstrations, golf clinics, eyewear fashion shows, health and wellness screenings and much more.

Several new experience areas will also be a part of the activities behind the 18th green, including the "Competitive Advantage" area developed by Nike, Transitions and Vision Service Plan (VSP), where attendees will have the opportunity to learn how vision impacts athletic performance, how general fitness impacts their golf swing, and how the latest eyewear technology innovations can help them perform -- and look -- their best.  Additionally, the "LensCrafters Kids Zone" will be a great place for families with children to experience fun and exciting entertainment and games.

"As you can see, healthy sight is the cornerstone of our entire week, and we will continue to activate our sponsorship well beyond this event," said Brett Craig, president, Transitions Optical.  "Along with our healthy sight ambassadors -- Kenny Perry and Trevor Immelman -- The Copperheads, Innisbrook and our optical industry partners, we are committed to educating people locally and around the world about the proper steps they can take to promote lifelong healthy sight and healthier ways of living." 

It's never too early or too late to learn about the critical role vision plays in everyday life, which is why Transitions has expanded the Youth Wellness activities at this year's Transitions Championship to accommodate nearly 1,500 elementary and middle school students from the Tampa Bay area who will receive free eye screenings, watch the Pro-Am competitions and participate in a number of activities, including golf clinics.

The Transitions Championship will benefit over 100 local Tampa Bay charities.  In the last five years, the tournament has made a charitable contribution of more than $9 million, bringing the total contributions to more than $24 million in the last 33 years.

Tickets to the Transitions Championship are on sale now in participating Publix locations or by visiting or calling (727) 942-5566.

About The Transitions Championship

The Transitions Championship is a 72-hole official PGA TOUR® event played on the famed Copperhead Course at Innisbrook:  A Salamander Golf & Spa Resort in Innisbrook, Florida.  Transitions Optical is the title sponsor of the PGA TOUR® event, which draws a field of 144 of the finest golfers from around the world and was won last year by Retief Goosen.  The Transitions Championship benefits more than 100 Tampa Bay area charities and has contributed more than $9 million in the last five years.  The upcoming Transitions Championship will be the tenth PGA TOUR® event sponsored by The Copperheads since 2000 (the 2001 tournament was cancelled following the attacks of 9/11).  The tournament tees off March 15-21, 2010 and will include a week of tournament-related activities reinforcing the connection between healthy sight and an overall healthy lifestyle.

SOURCE Transitions Optical



SOURCE Transitions Optical
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