The commitment deadline passed today with officials at the HP Byron Nelson Championship set to welcome back three past champions with a combined 10 major titles _ Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els _ for next week’s PGA Tour stop in Irving.
Mickelson, the No. 10 player in the world golf rankings and the 1996 Nelson champ, returns for the first time since 2007. Els, the 1995 Nelson champ, returns for the first time since 2006. Singh, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, won the 2003 Nelson.
The threesome ranks among the headliners in a field that includes two first-time Nelson competitors with major-championship credentials, Padraig Harrington and Louis Oosthuizen, as well as golfers who have won a combined 20 major titles.
Mickelson is the lone player on the commitment list who ranks among the top 10 in the world golf rankings. But there will be seven of the top 22 players from the world rankings competing at the Four Seasons Resort, including defending champ Keegan Bradley (No. 22), 2010 Nelson champ Jason Day (No. 15) and 2008 Nelson champ Adam Scott (No. 12).
Among the list of last-minute field moves included the additions of Boo Weekley, David Duval, Rich Beem and Mike Weir, as well as the withdrawals of Stuart Appleby, Ben Curtis, Anthony Kim, Fredrik Jacobson and Brendon de Jonge.
Nelson tournament chairman Robert Smith said officials are “excited to welcome back so many of our former champions and pleased to see some international players who are new to our event” taking part in the 2012 Nelson.
_ Jimmy Burch