Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #46

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If you ever get a chance to see a professional golf tournament in person, do it. A Major, Regular Tour Event, or Senior Tour Event, they are all exciting and educational. My friend and I attended the Ascension Charity Classic at Norwood Hills Country Club in North County St. Louis Sunday and had a blast. The only downer were the high prices for concessions, but it was partly for charity. But $6.40 for a bottled water? $90 for a Polo shirt with their logo? That was rather ridiculous. I bought a t-shirt for $30, but I had to stay hydrated so I shelled out the money for three waters.

I mentioned it was a learning experience. Besides the obvious age difference and physical limitations of the senior golfer vs a 30 something player on the regular tour, the main difference was confidence. The regular tour players today are fearless. They swing from the heels on every drive and play the cards they’re dealt. The players on the senior tour are experienced. They know their limitations or sometimes doubt their ability. I saw that first hand with Corey Pavin, Mike Weir and even the eventual winner, David Toms. I felt like my best drive would be able to match their Sunday punch, but they’re sneaky long.

Most of the players looked like they were going at it at about 60%, except for one player that we followed during the entire back nine and I have the hip and back pain to prove it, John Daly.

Daly gave the fans what they wanted. At 55 he is still gripping and ripping it. He was a little wild on the opening holes and he narrowly missed several putts but he is a marvel to watch. His short game is spot on and he proved his ability to hit it long and straight by driving the 302 yard par four leaving him a 20 foot eagle putt from the collar, which he narrowly missed for a tap in birdie. On a 465 yard uphill par 4 he outdrove Paul Goydos 70 yards. I would estimate Daly’s ball travelled 330.

If Daly had a weakness, it seemed to be in his short iron play. He missed two par 3 greens badly recording a bogey on one of the holes and sinking a 20 footer for a sand save on the other 3 par. On the 15th hole, a long uphill par 5, Daly hit a wood out of the rough over the green in two and had to settle for a par. He finished the day at two over in a tie for 33rd for the tournament at minus 2. Toms and Dicky Pride each finished at 10 under, and Toms won on the first extra hole with a par.

You would never expect most of these seniors could play, but they are straight and sneaky long and deadly on the green. They expect to make everything inside 20 feet. I saw a few bad shots. Goydos made a double bogey on a par 5 to shoot himself out of the tournament. For the most part they are super consistent. You can learn a lot from them. A few years ago the trademark of the senior tour was “these guys are good.” I can attest to that.

Hit ’em straight.