This way to the 50-plus tour

  • Article by: BRIAN STENSAAS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 30, 2014 - 11:51 PM

One door begins to close and another opens for rookies on the Champions Tour.

Paul Goydos never gave much thought to this part of his golf career.

“Being 24 or 44 is meaningless in this sport,” he said. “You have to go out there and play and beat the guy and the course. You get lost in that journey; your age kind of disappears.”

Then a funny thing happened earlier this season playing out a medical extension on the PGA Tour. Reality reared its head and hit Goydos in a way he could no longer deny.

The combined age of Goydos’ playing partners didn’t add up to his 49.

“Happened twice,” Goydos said with a sigh.

Three weeks ago, a month after turning 50, he tied for 70th in the John Deere Classic, just his fourth made cut of the season. Without enough earnings to continue his exempt status on the PGA Tour, Goydos took some time to finally come to grips with his age.

He was no longer on an eternal summer vacation under the sun. The time had come to move on with his career.

“I never looked at myself as being old,” he said. “I was always a 25-year-old playing golf and all of a sudden I’m 50.”

Any uneasiness about joining the Champions Tour already has been erased. Though Friday’s first round of the 3M Championship is his first official foray into the 50-and-over circuit, Goydos hit the TPC Twin Cities driving range on Tuesday and felt like he was home — or in a cozy bar in Boston.

“It was like a high school reunion,” he said a day later of the back slaps and handshakes he immediately received from contemporaries. “I’m looking forward to this. It’s nice to see people I’ve known my whole life. It’s kind of like walking into Cheers a little bit. Everyone knows your name and it’s a pretty comfortable place to be.”

That said, no one on this tour is going to give Goydos — or anyone else for that matter — a free pass.

The 3M Championship is traditionally one of the lowest-scoring events on the Champions Tour. The winning score has been at least 15 under par in each of the past seven years. Twice the winning score has been 20 under or lower.

Oh, and there’s a two-time 3M winner in this week’s field named Bernhard Langer who just won the Senior British Open by a record 13 shots.

That’s a bit of a rude awakening for the handful of players in this week’s field making their tournament debuts.

“People like to make birdies and people like to see birdies,” said Scott Verplank, who is paired with Goydos and Kevin Sutherland on Friday in an all-first-timer group. “So hopefully I’ll take part in all those festivities.”

Like Goydos, Verplank didn’t make the Champions Tour a career goal but Father Time crept his way into the picture. If he had his druthers, Verplank would be at Firestone Country Club in Ohio this week for the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, an event for the top money winners on the PGA Tour and European Tour. But things haven’t been the same since tendon reconstruction surgery on his left wrist two years ago.

“I keep thinking I’m making progress but that hasn’t really happened yet,” Verplank said.

After turning 50 on July 9, Verplank made his Champions Tour debut at Oak Tree in Oklahoma for the U.S. Senior Open later in the week. He shot 75-75 and missed the cut at 8 over par.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 41 2nd Qtr 3:03
Miami 56
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Golden State 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 5:30 PM
George Washington 7:30 PM
Wichita State
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters