Major winner seeks to play with familiar faces
Life doesn’t end at 50 for a PGA Tour golfer.
In fact, turning 50 opens up a new spectrum of playing opportunities.
Former Florence, Alabama, resident and one-time major winner Stewart Cink, who is making his PGA Tour Champions debut this week at the KitchenAid PGA Senior Championship in Frisco, Texas, is looking forward to exploring his PGA Tour Champions options while maintaining a presence on the regular Tour.
Earlier this week, Stewart Cink said he is excited to dabble in the Champions Tour.
“Seriously, I am looking forward to it,” he said in a text message.
For one thing, Cink said he will be able to see with some of his former PGA Tour peers who have already graduated to the Champions Tour – guys like Steve Stricker, Joe Durant, Chris DiMarco, David Toms and others.
Stewart Cink: ‘I don’t have a lot in common with many players on the PGA Tour’
“I’m looking forward to seeing some faces that I know; I don’t have a lot in common with many players on the PGA Tour [now] except for I hit a little white ball,” he told PGAtour.com recently. “It’s gonna be nice to reconnect with some of my friends from a long time ago and get out there and fight it out on some different courses and play against a different set.”
Stewart Cink isn’t abandoning the PGA Tour for the Champions Tour, though. His major focus remains on the PGA Tour.
“Because of the new [designated] events on the PGA Tour, that’s going to be my focus through the FedEx Cup,” he told Bob McClellan of the PGA Champions Tour. “I’ll play on the regular Tour as much as I can in order to try to make it into those (designated) events next year.”
Once the FedEx Cup has concluded, Cink said he might add a few Champions Tour events to his schedule in the fall. He has entered the U.S. Senior Open and the Senior Open Championship.
Cink is an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, including twice when he was 48 years old. Among those wins was the 2009 Open Championship when he beat Tom Watson in a playoff. Although he hasn’t played well so far this season – eight made cuts in 16 starts – he says he still has the ability to compete with the young guns.
“Being competitive and fully exempt for a few more years on the PGA Tour, it just speaks to a couple things – mainly the gift that golf gives us; that you can keep going if you do the right things that other sports just don’t offer,” he said. “The other thing is that while golf gives you that opportunity, it doesn’t come for free. You have to go and get it.”
Cink said his desire to play well still burns.
I’m fortunate that my love and my zest for this game has never wavered,” he said. “I have always been intrigued by it and motivated by it. I love playing and I love competing and just trying to be the best version of myself I can be out there. Sometimes that has been pretty good over my career and sometimes it hasn’t been very good.
“I just love waking up with the possibility of maybe that day is going to be one of those good days. In this game, if you keep yourself in shape and keep the fire going, it’s a game that can reward you for a long time. I’m living proof of that.”
Cink doesn’t expect to come out and dominate the Champions Tour.
“It’s not like your calendar flips over by one day and you are not as good a golfer anymore,” he said. “These guys out here play great. It’s like any pro tour. You just kind of play your butt off. I know I can do that.”
Cink’s playing partners in his debut will be Miguel Angel Jimenez and Robert Karlsson at 1:31 p.m.
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Featured image courtesy of the _PGA Tour