Calcavecchia leaves the laughing in final PGA Tour event
As he approaches the end of his days as a full-time member of the PGA Tour – this week’s Memorial Tournament will be the last time he tees it up this year before joining the Champions Tour in earnest – it’s enough to make even the most cynical, sarcastic and brutally honest veteran grow wistful.
“I should have kept myself in better shape, which is still the case. I should have won more tournaments. I should have practiced harder – a lot of should haves,” he said Tuesday, when asked whether he had any regrets. “On the other hand, I had a great time. I’m incredibly lucky. I stop to think about all the things that I’ve been blessed with, and I just had a blast.”
No one could ever dispute that. In addition to winning events around the world, Calc – what everyone calls him – won a lot of fans. He, along with his followers, usually had a good time.
Laughter followed him wherever he went, walking along the long, thin line of long, thin golfers on the range, or whenever he was asked a question. Blunt, emotional and demonstrative, no one ever accused him of being a workout fanatic or being bland like so many of his peers.
“He’s fun,” Jim Furyk said. “Obviously, he’s got a sarcastic side to him. He’s really well liked out here. I’ll definitely miss him but obviously he’s excited about – I don’t know if he’s excited about turning 50 – but he’s excited about playing the Champions Tour.”
The over-50 league beckons. Calc, who hits the big 5-0 on June 12, will make his debut at the Champions stop in Endicott, N.Y., late this month.
He welcomes the new circuit and the old friends. And the new challenges.
“It’s a great change of pace,” he said. “New courses, new towns, new holes to screw up. I’m tried of screwing up the same holes every year.”
The Memorial will be his 737th PGA Tour event. He’s won 13 times and made 516 cuts while cashing almost $24 million in checks. Those stats speak to his longevity, his talent and his competitiveness.
“Well, the amount of money I’ve made, that’s all gone, so that doesn’t blow me away at all,” he cracked. “Yeah, 700-some odd tournaments I’ve played in, that’s a lot. That’s a large number. To have made (that many) cuts, that’s a lot too. It seems like I missed more cuts than that. But I did have a stretch there in my prime where I’d miss three or four a year out of 25. So it kind of added up.”
Clearly he has reflected on what has been a solid career.
“It’s gone by fast,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like I’ve played that much. But I still get excited about waking up on Thursday mornings and getting ready to play in a tournament.”
He just doesn’t get as excited. He concedes that he still enjoys himself but that it has been less fun the last couple of years. Knee and foot problems have slowed him. He won his last tournament (the Pods Championship) and almost $3 million in 2007; since then, he has collected around half that much.
There is no question what the highlight moment was for Calc. In 1989 at Troon, he defeated Wayne Grady and Greg Norman in a playoff, sealing the British Open with a fearless 5-iron to 7 feet on the fourth and final hole. It was his only major win.
If he were to somehow pull off some magic and win the Memorial, he would become only the third Tour player to win events in four decades, joining Raymond Floyd and Sam Snead.
To do that, he’ll have to putt a lot better than he has. And to putt better, he’ll have to handle the new, thick-wrapped grip on his putter.
“My hands barely fit it,” he said. “We’ll see what happens Thursday. The grip’s called ‘The Fatso,’ by the way, so I thought it was aptly named.”
There’s no question that he’s looking forward to stepping on the practice tee at a Champions Tour event and seeing familiar faces – Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, Mark O’Meara, Joey Sindelar. He’s grown tired of having to catch a name off a golf bag to figure out who the newest hotshot is hitting those long drives next to him.
Times have changed. Calc hasn’t.
“(The PGA Tour) is definitely more of a big business, a serious business,” he said. “When I was young, we stayed out later. We went out and didn’t worry about it too much. Now the kids work out and are going to the gym and whatnot. … Now it’s just a bit stiffer.”
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.