The TOUR Needs 40Somethings


This weeks Memorial Tournament presented by Morgan Stanley has a field of 106 players. Superstars are here in the name of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen.
Young stars are here, too. Sergio Garcia still qualifies, and Sean OHair, who shot 5-under 67 on Thursday, also comes to mind. Camilo Villegas and Adam Scott are also hot-shots in their 20s who bring any tournament the proper power and flair.
Given the fact that I turned 40 early last month, Ive now got this certain affection for the 40somethings.
Cmon, you like em, too, dont you?
In the last few years, Singh has given every man over 40 years of age reason to keep the faith. A truckload of victories, a few majors, too, and the wins necessary to earn him a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Last year here, Bart Bryant walked away as a surprise winner. He later won THE TOUR Championship, making for his greatest season in professional golf. This November, Bryant will turn 44 and hes in the prime of his career, and certainly the prime of his life.
This week, Ive talked to John Cook, Joey Sindelar, Brad Faxon, Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Bryant and a few others who seem to be as motivated as they were in their 20s. Not a single one seemed the least bit down about his lot in PGA TOUR life.
The challenge of competing might be greater than ever before. And perhaps thats what keeps these guys driving to stay in the game and keep their game.
On a given course we can play with anybody, Cook said.
Maturity means so much in this game, Bryant quipped.
Theres still plenty of reason to stay competitive. Plus, its still fun to be out here, Faxon added.
Faxon, who won last years Buick Championship in Hartford, admitted that hes been watching the likes of Villegas and J.B. Holmes and using them as motivation. If they can win in their 20s, then why cant we win in our 40s? said Faxon. True, and Faxon added that staying fit might be the biggest thing to help confidence to accomplish the goal.
Last week, Jeff Maggert won the FedEx St. Jude Classic, ending a winless drought and keeping the older guys/seasoned vets in our mind.
To me, Cook is right when he says that fans like a PGA TOUR where its not just about one player. And the fact that he and others still feel like they can compete is good medicine. Suddenly Nick Price, at 49 years of age, is finding form.
Kirk Triplett won earlier this year in Tucson. And given that four of the PGA TOURs more recent winners include Chris Couch, Brett Wetterich, Jeff Maggert and Tim Herron ' who knows whos next.
Couples told me that its one thing for a 40something whos a very good player to be in the mix. Its another thing to be there consistently. Im not out here to finish fifth or third or second, Couples said.
So what does the 40-crowd bring to the TOUR? Perspective for one thing. Experience for another. A large fan base is another added bonus.
It might just be me, but I like a mix in my PGA TOUR winners. Id love to see Couples win another big one. Ive enjoyed Jay Haas still mixing it up with the flat-bellies.
So keep on keepin on. The Champions Tour can wait. Lets get a few victories along the way.

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