Thorpe Needs to Give Again

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 8, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Boeing ChampionshipIt was at the Blue Angels Classic last year that Jim Thorpe announced he had made a most noble gesture ' donating his entire winners check from the FedEx Kinkos Classic to his churchs youth center. After the donation, Thorpe was shocked when he promptly won the Blue Angels, his second consecutive tournament win.
Maybe its time for Thorpe to make another donation. The Blue Angels event has given way to another tournament ' the Boeing Championship at Sandestin (TGC, Beginning Fri. at 6:00 p.m. ET). It will be held this week for the first time ' at a different venue from the Blue Angels. And Thorpe is on a run of so-so performances that has lasted throughout the year thus far.
He hasnt played badly, but he hasnt come close to winning, either. Thorpes finishes hover around the 15-30 range. The 57-year-old will attack a new course hoping for his first victory in a year. Hes just thrilled that hes still playing golf for a living and that he was able to make a winning donation last season.
I don't think I put in everything on the regular TOUR that I could have, he says now. I realize with the Champions Tour that I had a second chance, I had a mulligan. That mulligan that we look for sometimes off the first tee. Thanks to Tim Finchem and corporate America, they gave me a mulligan.
And this time I really took advantage of it. I worked hard on the game, I worked hard during the off-season. I realized this is my last time around, after this, there is no more. So, yes, I felt that I could, but I didn't know because a lot of the guys that beat me on the other tour were already on the Senior Tour.
Thorpe has been plenty good enough, though, whipping up on the tour for 11 victories.
That comes because I learned so much more as Ive grown older, he said. I learned to work harder, to be more disciplined, more patient on the golf course. I think I actually learned how to play once I got a little bit older. Before I wanted to hit it a long way, made no difference where it went. Now hitting a long way doesn't bother me. I just concentrate on scoring now.
A lot of those guys that used to beat you years ago, they're older now, might not be quite as strong, hit it quite as far, putt quite as good. And the Bible says he that is the last shall be first. So I believe in God for chances to go around. And I like to say that in the last six and a half years or so, since I turned 50, that it is my turn now. And I'm trying to take advantage of that.
Last year Thorpe went into a Monday playoff with Morris Hatalsky after The Moors course in Milton, Fla., was pummeled by rain. He eventually won with a 6-foot par putt after Hatalsky made bogey.
The Raven Golf Club in the Florida panhandle town of Sandestin is the new tournament home. The Boeing tournament will be held the next three years on Mothers Day week.
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