The times I felt really good going into an event, I've bombed, said Irwin. And there are tournaments I've played where I didn't think I had a chance, and I've won.
That's not to say that I haven't played well going into an event or I may have felt fairly good about an aspect of my game, but I can't think back to any one event where I've gone in and said on a Wednesday, Boy, do I feel good about this. More than anything else, if I've gone into an event, I think, Boy, I've got a long ways to go.
Irwin has fallen behind Craig Stadler in the Champions Tour money race. At 59, he should expect to start slowing down a little. But, surprisingly, he still is very competitive on the tour. Just dont ask him if he is going to win this week. He wont say yes, but then, he will never say no, either.
That doesn't mean I'm not confident about what I can do, he said. But they don't give out the winner's check on Thursday - they give it out on Sunday. So to me it's trying to get myself prepped for that sprint to the finish on Sunday and hopefully hang in there until then.
Stadler won last week at Pebble Beach to increase his Champions Tour lead, but Irwin finished in a tie for third. Irwin has played the majors particularly well, winning the PGA Seniors and finishing second in the U.S. Senior Open. And he also won the Liberty Mutual Legends of golf.
He cant say, though, that he felt he was going to win when those weeks began.
I suppose if I went back and you pointed out every one and you conjured up what I was feeling at the time, there might be a half a dozen where I could say I felt pretty good going into that event, he said.
It was the same way with the regular tour, when he won three U.S. Opens ' the last coming in 1990.
After the 90 win at Medinah, I knew I was playing well obviously, but I started playing better as the week went on, Irwin said. So I went to Westchester, and I knew it was a whirlwind, but I was playing well, and I won that event, too.
There have been times when I've gone into the next event - gone into a major championship thinking that things were OK and just absolutely bombed.
It's hard to say. I don't really think about that. What's past is past and the only future to me is the first tee shot tomorrow and go from there. That's the way I've always approached it. Simplistic and boring, but that's the way it is.