THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Woody Austin understands. You don’t want to watch him play golf.
John Daly is making his PGA Tour Champions debut this week at the Insperity Invitational, and despite having won each of his last three starts, Austin is a name on a tee-times sheet to many.
“[Daly] is a needle mover. We need that out here. We need somebody that people want to come out and watch,” Austin said Thursday. “They don’t want to come out and watch me. I understand that.”
Austin noted that the tour’s success is predicated on marquee players competing on a regular basis and there has been a dearth of that in recent years.
“Unfortunately for this tour, the big names coming off the regular tour have decided not to play,” Austin said.
“Our biggest needle mover is Freddie Couples. Freddie plays 10 tournaments a year, 12 tournaments a year. So you need someone like JD to come out. From that standpoint, it’s going to be a good thing.”
Couples, for the record, has played twice this year and is not competing this week. Daly is expecting to play a full schedule, including 10 of the next 11 tournaments.
Austin, meanwhile, has made over $770,000 this season, more than in any of his last six seasons on the PGA Tour. He’s certainly not going to apologize for his success, but “I’m also a realist,” he said.
“I understand that this tour was not built for me to have the greatest life in the world or the greatest retirement in the world. This tour was built so that Jack [Nicklaus], Gary [Player], Lee [Trevino], those guys were still in the public’s eye, so they could still see them playing golf. I understand that.”
“So we need more of the JD’s. We need Freddie to play a little bit more,” he added. “You need people like that to keep interest, because that’s just the way it is.”