Presented by Spotlight Casino

By Wayne McCollum

Retief Goosen adds The Galleri Classic win to his many accomplishments world-wide. This year, the Galleri Classic was not decided until the final hole. There was drama when Steve Alker bogied the par-three 17th to drop a shot from -14 to -13, tying Retief Goosen, both hit their second shots into the water at the 18th, however, Goosen was able to get up and down for par to take the winners purse, while Alker bogied the final hole to lose the tournament, finishing in a three-way tie for second place with Ricardo Gonzalez and Alex Cejka.
Goosen’s career is one of a storybook champion in the world of golf, having won 38 events world-wide including two U.S. Opens, one in a playoff against Mark Brooks in 2001 and another beating Phil Mickelson by two shots in 2004. The World Golf Hall of Famer was delighted with his surviving win at Mission Hills Country Club.
The Galleri field featured 78 PGA Champions which included 20 major tour winners and six World Golf Hall of Fame members who played for a purse of $2.4 million, with $330,000 going to winner Retief Goosen.
It was a natural flow into the schedule for the senior men professionals having just completed their event in Newport Beach. The tournament was played over on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course that has been one of the desert’s premier layouts since opening in 1971. Many of the players remarked that it’s one of the best-conditioned golf courses they play all year.
GRAIL, the host sponsor of the tournament has committed to a five-year agreement to stay in the valley. The GRAIL test is an early detection screening test created to take a simple blood sample and the results can reveal warning signs of up to 50 different types of cancer. For a fee, fans attending the event were able to sign up and be tested on the grounds, any day of the tournament. Bio-tech company GRAIL jumped into its first sports sponsorship believing it had an excellent opportunity with golf and the desert population to reach its most sought after demographic, those 50 and older.
Tournament Director, Michelle DeLancy said “we have a five-year commitment for The Galleri Classic, and I think it could be a major tournament one day.” There are a lot of golf fans here in the desert that would come out and support such a move by the PGA Champions Tour. Long time tour professional John Cook, who once lived at Mission Hills and played the course hundreds of times said, “it is a major championship course and always has been, the ladies had a great run here for 51 years with the Dinah Shore and the ANA, it is classic and old school.”
Over 500 volunteers turned out in support of the event to ensure it was a success. It sure looks like the Galleri Classic is destined to become one of the premier events on the Champions Tour given the golf course, a field of legends, major champions and personalities.
The 2025 Galleri Classic will be played March 28th thru 30th and who knows, maybe as a major on the PGA Champions Tour.
Wayne McCollum is a contributing writer to Desert Sports & Leisure.