Strange Anxious for Champions Tour Debut

By Sports NetworkJanuary 27, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 ACE Group ClassicPONTE VEDRA BRACH, Fla. -- Former Ryder Cup captain and two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange will celebrate his 50th birthday on Sunday, January 30th. Out of competitive golf for some time now, Strange is eager to start a new career on the PGA Tour's senior circuit.
'I'm very anxious to get started,' Strange said on Wednesday. 'I'm anxious to find out what I have, and I'm a little leery about finding that out.'
He plans to make his debut at the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Florida from February 18-20.
Strange won 17 tournaments on the PGA Tour throughout his career, including back-to-back U.S. Open titles in 1988 and 89. His victory at the 1989 U.S. Open at Oak Hill was his last on the PGA Tour. Strange began to cut back on his playing schedule on the PGA Tour in 1997, and competed less and less as the years went on while splitting time as an analyst for ABC.
'I think burnout would probably be as close to describing my feelings as anything else,' said Strange. 'Basically, that was it. I just never got quite the enthusiasm back, and looking back on it, I played with a lot of enthusiasm. If I was not on edge, then I didn't play well. If the TV opportunity didn't come through eight years ago, I could have fought through it. But I had an opportunity, and so I took it.'
Strange played four times on the PGA Tour in 2004, withdrawing from the Honda Classic after an opening-round 82, and missing the cut in the other starts. He expects to play 18 events this year and will have his hands full with the likes of Craig Stadler, Peter Jacobsen and Jay Haas, who remain active on the PGA Tour and have become top players on the Champions Tour.
'I'm very cautious in my expectations,' he said. 'I've been out of it for a while competitively, and so I'm not quite sure what to expect. I'm just kind of doing some work and hopefully as I get into the swing of things, enjoy it.'
No longer a member of the ABC team, Strange will be able to focus entirely on building a new career on the Champions Tour.
'I think we play because we enjoy playing and you enjoy competing and enjoy getting that feeling of throwing up on your shoes and knots in your stomach and palms sweating and all that kind of good stuff,' said Strange. 'I think it's been an incredible opportunity to continue to compete.'
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