Senior Majors are Still Majors


2006 Ford Senior Players ChampionshipA major is a major is a major, say the gentlemen who play the Champions Tour. It may not be the Masters, the British Open, the U.S. Open or the PGA Championship. But the Ford Senior Players Championship, which is being held this week near Detroit, is just as important to the men who will be playing it as the four majors are to the younger set.
This is the tour that I play, said Loren Roberts. This is a major to me.
Loren Roberts
Loren Roberts is seeking his first major on either the PGA or Champions tour.
Obviously, we realize that the majors on the PGA TOUR are how you want to classify them. They're bigger majors. I mean, there's no question about that. But this is where we play now. I look at it for myself, this is where I play now and I still want to win majors.
Some say Fred Funk should be the favorite, others say Roberts or Jay Haas should be. All say the men who are 50, 51, 52 should probably be favored the most. But Roberts says a lot of the older players are giving a winning effort, also.
I think obviously if you look at Hale Irwin, he's the exception to the rule, said Roberts. I mean, he's kept himself physically fit. I don't know a guy that's more competitive that I've ever met than Hale Irwin. If I just look at him and I look at the golf course, it's pretty good chance there. I think that he could be one of the favorites. I really do.
And still, it cant be argued that there is perhaps a five-year window, from age 50 to perhaps age 55, when a player will typically win the most.
Yeah, I look at it like I got five years to play, I guess, said Roberts, who himself is now 51.
I feel like I've been pretty doggone fortunate for me in my career because I feel like I came along and played at a time when golf really got good. (I was) able to take advantage of a lot of the things that Tiger Woods and Phil (Mickelson) have probably done about bringing money into the game, was able to take advantage of a lot of the increased purses and still stay competitive until I was 50.
And then this tour is here, which I think is going to get nothing but better with guys coming out like Nick Price. I wish we could get Greg Norman to play a little bit more. I just think this is - I couldn't be more thrilled to death with what's happening out here, regardless of how long I can stay competitive out here.
People seem to forget that these gents are getting older, says Allen Doyle ' who is now 57. Yet we are, he says.
So it's good to have Fred (Funk) and Scott Hoch and Greg Norman, and all these guys and the only thing that I wish that they play more. Because it would be a huge plus for our tour. And I do it for selfish and unselfish reasons.
I mean it's selfish - the more they play, the probably higher our purses would be. So that's a good thing. And the unselfish is that it's probably more impressive for a Greg Norman to tout how well we play out here, versus me. So it does get me fired up and motivated to play and show that we - that the years that we had, good years that we had was not because there was no competition out here - it was because we were good players.
It may be the surprises who are most representative of what the Champions Tour is about, though ' the Dana Quigleys, the Doyles. These are the guys who played little or no golf on the PGA TOUR. And when they got their Champions Tour cards, they were eager to show the world that they could play with the big names.
Oh, that's a (motivation), for sure, said Doyle. And I think those guys (the big-name players) have come to respect the others out here - and I would put myself in the others category. Everybody expects them to dominate and when they don't...
I mean, how are you going to beat Dana Quigley when he shoots 18 under and shoots 63 on Sunday (at the Greater Kansas City Classic two weeks ago)? You almost can't do it. That doesn't mean we do that every week and every Sunday, no. But they don't either.
And when they have been asked, Why haven't you done better, they say, These guys can play. And that's a good thing maybe for us when you get into your late 50s.
And the same sentiment goes for Quigley.
I think it juices us up to know that there's more great players here, he says. And it's a feather in the cap of mine and Allen Doyle's when we can beat a field full of those guys.
'I mean, I welcome them to be here, because I'm still going to try to shoot the score that I need to get to regardless of who it is. But when they happen to be the names underneath you, it certainly does (feel good) at the end of the day. When we're home in our hotel room, it certainly gives us a lot of pride knowing that these guys were in this field.
I've been out here - I think it's going to be my 10th year. The fields, the competition has gotten - I wouldn't know how to put it in numbers, but I would say it's at least three times as hard competitive-wise as 10 years ago. That's how much it's changed.
Thats true of Roberts, who was a solid member of the PGA TOUR for 25 years.
If you talk about Champions Tour golf, this is the greatest mulligan in life of any sport that I know, he said. And I enjoy playing golf. I can't speak for a lot of these other guys, but I know I enjoy playing golf, competing and being out there playing. And I think a lot of guys who play out here are probably not as anal as they used to be on the golf course, just because this is a second time around. You've been there, done that. It's time to have fun playing golf.
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