Seniors Set to Open Champions Tour Season

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2005, 5:00 pm
KA'UPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii -- Some Champions Tour players have already enjoyed an impressive start to the 2005 season.
Four players made the cut at a PGA Tour event last week. But the official start for the 50-and-over set is Friday at the MasterCard Championship, when the Champions Tour kicks off its 25th anniversary season.
Last week at the Sony Open, Craig Stadler ' last year's Champions Tour player of the year ' tied for ninth at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. Peter Jacobsen tied for 28th, Dick Mast finished in a tie for 47th, and Tom Kite tied for 72nd.
The 55-year-old Kite intends to play nearly a full schedule on both tours this year. Mast played at Waialae by getting through Monday qualifying, and he did the same thing this week at the Buick Invitational in California.
'They put on a great show last week,' said Fuzzy Zoeller, who last year birdied the final three holes at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Hualalai Golf Club to edge Dana Quigley by one stroke in the Champions opener. 'The guys who play well (on the regular tour) have stayed active. Fifty is what old age used to be, but I'd have to say the number has moved to 60.'
Gary Player agrees that age is overstated.
'This is the kind of thing I see all the time, and having played as a professional golfer for 52 years, I keep saying wherever I go, the world is completely naive of the standard of play on the Champions Tour,' said Player, one of five players to win the career grand slam. 'It's one of the great phenomena in golf to see the standard of play.'
Thirty-seven players are entered in the MastersCard Championship, the first of 28 Champions Tour events.
The winner takes home $272,000 of the $1.6 million purse in a tournament that includes winners of Champions Tour official money events over the last two years and winners of golf's senior majors over the last five years. Player, Arnold Palmer, and Lee Trevino received special exemptions into the field.
Official prize money on the tour this year approaches $52 million, with an average purse of $1.8 million. The competition has never been keener, and some players who have become eligible for senior golf have proved capable of remaining viable competitors on the regular tour.
In 2003, Stadler became the first player to win events on the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour in the same calendar year, accomplishing the feat in back-to-back weeks. Jay Haas, who turned 52 in December, played on the most recent U.S. Ryder Cup (news - web sites) team. Add Greg Norman, Curtis Strange, Scott Simpson and Loren Roberts, all who are eligible for the Champions Tour this year, and winning a senior title becomes more difficult.
'It's just getting harder and harder out here. Players are that much better,' said Hale Irwin, who has won a record 40 senior titles. 'You can't quantify it, but each group of players that comes along, they are better and more fit, and they make for very formidable competition.'
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - MasterCard Championship
    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

    Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

    Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

    The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

    Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

    "I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

    Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

    Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

    Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

    Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

    By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

    Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

    Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Getty Images

    LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

    The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

    LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

    "The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

    It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

    "He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."