There was no formal recognition or even a single lit candle waiting for Dave Stockton Jr. at TPC Twin Cities on Tuesday.
“Just a few calls, a lot of texts,” he said.
Stockton spent his 50th birthday just as he did on the final day in his 40s: with his son, Jake, scouting out the golf course in preparation for this weekend’s 3M Championship.
Not that Stockton needs too much guidance. His father, Dave Stockton, won the 3M in 1994 (although that tournament was held at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids) and the pair have been coming here since. The elder Stockton is a regular during the weekend’s Greats of Golf exhibition.
“I know it can be a lot of fun out here,” Stockton Jr. said. “It’s special for me to have my first [senior tournament] be here, with my dad in town.”
Stockton Jr. left competitive golf 14 years ago when daughter Serena was 5 and Jake was 2. His full-time job these days is at home, teaching golf at Oak Valley Country Club in Southern California.
A few years ago, the competitive itch resurfaced
“I’m not going to quit [teaching],” he said. “But it’s been nice being out here this week with all of the guys. I’m happy with the second chance. I’m going to grind and smile and see what happens.”
Perhaps a repeat of 24 years ago for the family trophy case?
Stockton paused, laughed and shook his head.
“Problem is, I don’t always know where the ball is going to go off the tee,” he said.
Rymer at the ready
Golf Channel analyst Charlie Rymer earned a sponsor’s exemption into the 3M Championship, his third official event since turning 50 in December.
“I had this crazy idea that I’d get my game in shape after 20 years, but I’m not delusional enough to think I’m going to be competitive with these guys,” said Rymer, who finished 77th in both previous events he entered. “The main reason is to get content for the show.”
Rymer is a regular on “Morning Drive,” and he taped a segment for the show on Tuesday morning with Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck that could air as soon as Wednesday.
Those pieces, he said, are the fun part on the road.
As for getting back into golf …
“If you have a job where you analyze golf on television, you ought to have to go back every three years and play a few holes of tournament golf,” he said. “I’ll never again criticize someone for taking a bad angle with a 3-iron onto the green. You get it there, that’s a good shot. This has really helped my perspective a lot.”
• Danny Edwards, Mark O’Meara, Bobby Wadkins, Mark Calcavecchia, Gibby Gilbert, Morris Hatalsky, Wayne Levi and Loren Roberts all withdrew from the tournament Tuesday. That gave Friday tee times to Gary Hallberg, R.W. Eaks, Ted Schulz, Kenny Knox and Ron Streck, with others likely added Wednesday. Eaks won the 3M in 2008, shooting a then-tournament record 23 under to beat Hallberg by six shots. Streck was fifth that year.
• Tom Gillis carded six birdies and an eagle at Victory Links in Blaine to win the 3M Championship qualifying event at 8 under. Jeff LeMaster (7 under), Mark Walker (5 under) and Chad Proehl (5 under) also qualified.