He is at the TPC of Twin Cities outside Minneapolis for the 3M Championship this week, a regular stop on the Champions Tour for Mr. Irwin. And he now is No. 1 on the tours money list ' a spot he has occupied three times when the season has ended. He was the top player in 1997, 98 and 02.
Irwin reclaimed the top spot with a solid effort at the U.S. Senior Open last week. He finished second, one stroke behind winner Peter Jacobsen, to vault into first place in the money race. Falling out of the lead was Gil Morgan, who finished 12th.
Irwin now has amassed $1,385,788 in just 15 events, which is over $160,000 more than Morgan.
Irwin, and the entire field at the Senior Open who made the cut, was obliged to play 36 holes Sunday. And a 59-year-old might have been expected to protest. Not Irwin, though.
I feel good, he said Sunday evening. I'd love to go back and play three more, but - unfortunately Peter played great, he's going to be a tremendous addition to the tour, and he brings a great personality, a great presence, and obviously great golf. But I felt good today.
I was looking forward to today, I really was. Not that I feel like I'm in better shape, but I felt like I was playing well enough to make up that ground. But it just didn't happen.
Last year Irwin did not fare well at the 3M, going into the week with a painful back. He did well to finish in a tie for 40th, shooting a 75 in the second round. Without a question, he feels that he owes 3M something, now that he is feeling healthy again.
He couldnt even tee it up in the Senior Open last year after injuring the back in the U.S. Open. But normally the Senior U.S. Open has been very good to Irwin.
I find that this championship has brought out some of the best golf in me, he said. It goes beyond the ordinary that we might have on a week-to-week basis, and I like that.
I appreciate the efforts put forward to have a championship quality golf course, four rounds, a cut. You know, you really have to play. It gets back to really sound tournament golf. So, more than anything else, I needed to balance out my trophy case with another Senior Open. Maybe the little second place medal will tip it a little bit.