Other events include Tuesday’s Pro-Junior Champions Challenge – a six-hole exhibition at 3 p.m. Tuesday – and the Classic Gala on Wednesday night at the Hyatt Valencia. Professional play begins Friday morning and runs through Sunday afternoon. [email protected] (661) 257-5251 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! O’Meara helped design the nearby Valencia Tournament Players Club, a treacherous course just across Interstate 5 from the country club. “Every year there’s another big player,” De Young said. “It’s Mark O’Meara this year, one of the huge names in golf. He just turned 50; he said he wouldn’t miss it.” Tom Kite will defend his 2006 championship, heading a field of close to 80 “senior” golf pros. The purse is $1.4 million, with the winner slated to take home $240,000. Other big names include Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Jerry Pate, Fuzzy Zoeller, Loren Roberts and Jay Haas. The real winner may be Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, the tournament’s designated charity. The hospital was awarded $120,000 last year in proceeds from the pro-am. VALENCIA – They talk about the year that torrents of rain turned the posh Valencia Country Club greens to mush. And then there was the year of the whipping winds, and the year with the biting chill in the air. A check of the 15-day forecast, which calls for perfect golf weather, indicates this year the AT&T Champions Classic will be about the golf, said Peter De Young, director of the tournament that opens Monday at Valencia and stars professional golfers 50 and older. “Everyone keeps asking me, `What’s the weather?”‘ De Young said. “It looks like a fantastic forecast – after the last couple of years I was beginning to think we were snakebitten. I’ve got a long-range forecast that looks absolutely fantastic.” Debuting at the Champions Classic is Mark O’Meara, 16-time winner on the PGA Tour, who hit the Big 5-0 in January.