But this week, Purtzer is back where sweet memories were made last year ' the 3M Championship near Minneapolis. Last year he held off furious charges by Craig Stadler and Lonnie Nielsen to win the 3M by a stroke.
There's no better guy in the world than Butch Harmon, says Purtzer. I just wish I would have started with Butch about 20 years ago instead of just the last five years.
Ive learned a lot and I think my putting has always held me back a little bit, my putting and my chipping. And really, I think that was more of a mindset than anything else. My putting stroke isnt that bad and I look at it on film and stuff.
I just never really trusted my short game. I guess thats probably the big thing that I kind of felt maybe has kept me back a little bit. But I would just say the tempo and the rhythm of my swing is whats kind of helped me last this long.
Purtzer has been battling a bad back for most of his Champions Tour career, and that has hampered him even more this year. But he finished seventh in the recent U.S. Senior Open, proof that he is on his way back. Now he just needs to let that impressive swing continue to do its work.
I think when somebody watches me swing, I think they probably see more than anything else the rhythm and the tempo of the swing, he said. Id like to say that I worked really hard on that, but that was one of Gods gifts to me. Ive always had a rhythmic golf swing. I think that helps in that I dont feel like I have to hit it hard to hit it a long ways.
Purtzer appeared to have blown his chance at victory without a playoff at the 3M last year when he left his 20-foot putt on 18 woefully short. But then he cooly stepped up and sank a 7-footer, nailing down the victory.
'All I wanted to do was play good golf. If someone had a great round and beat me, that's OK,' he said. 'I just didn't want to beat myself.'