Tour hopping part of golf landscape

Even with choices, Couples and Romero acknowledge Champions Tour status.

March 05, 2010|By Bryce Alderton

The Champions Tour provides an opportunity for golfers to continue their playing careers past what athletes in football or basketball could dream.

The tour, for golfers 50 and over, carries with it a collection of golfing greats who possibly have competed on, among others, the PGA, Nationwide, Asian, European and Nationwide tours at a time in their careers.

Players today are faced with decisions about which tournaments and tours to play when they map out the upcoming year’s schedule. Sometimes they play a PGA or European tour event one week and the next, tee off on another tour.


Pros gathered for this weekend’s Toshiba Classic at Newport Beach Country Club offered myriad factors that go into deciding which tournaments to play. They mentioned appeal of a certain course, proximity to home and physical condition.

Peter Jacobsen, winner of two Champions Tour major titles, commented on physical condition.

“In the past five years, [whether I can play] is influenced by if I can get out of bed and walk to the bathroom,” Jacobsen said.

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin expects to play 25 or 26 tournaments this year.

“I pick courses that fit my game,” Pavin, the 1995 U.S. Open champion, said.

Fred Couples, who claimed his first Champions Tour victory last month at The ACE Group Classic, anticipates playing about six PGA Tour events this year, including the Masters next month. Couples finished tied for 14th place (10-under-par) at the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale Feb. 28.

Couples shot 5-under-par 66 Friday to finish in a four-way tie for fourth, one shot off the lead in the 16th Toshiba Classic.

Couples listed the method for choosing tournaments: his girlfriend lives in Phoenix, he went to school at the University of Houston – he plans to play the Shell Houston Open in Texas April 1 through 4.

“I’m 50, I played really well last week in Phoenix,” Couples said. “I had a great time. I would like to continue to play a handful of tournaments on the [PGA Tour].”

Eduardo Romero, the 2009 Toshiba champion, said he played events on four tours in 1999, but now considers the Champions Tour his home tour.

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