Return to the Golf Today Home Page All the latest golf news Coverage of all the worlds major tours For all your golfing needs Golf Course Directory Out on the course Golf related travel Whats going on, message board, links and more!
 
Worldwide Feature Articles
 
Top Stories
PGA: Stephen Ames coasts to six shot win
PGA: Tiger Woods ends difficult week with 75
Euro: Van de Velde ends 13 year victory wait
Stephen Ames vaults to World No. 27
Boost for the Philippine Open
Tiger Woods misses practice to be with father

Hale Irwin chasing $3million target

Hale Irwin has nothing left to chase this weekend but history.

Irwin has locked up the Senior PGA Tour money title and with four victories this year is a front-runner to be voted player of the year for the third time.

But he can still become the first senior golfer to earn more than $3 million in one season if he finishes among the top four at the Senior Tour Championship, which begins Thursday at Gaillardia Golf & Country Club. Irwin has won $2,852,303 so far.

"I don't like to play for money," Irwin said Wednesday. "I'm trying to play to win, and with the win comes money.

"That's a goal this week, but winning the tournament this week is the greater goal."

At age 57, Irwin is playing as well he as ever has. He leads the senior tour in scoring average, putting and birdie average. He wrapped up the Schwab Cup, which brings a $1 million annuity based on top-10 finishes, three weeks ago by winning at Turtle Bay.

"He's absolutely amazing," said Fuzzy Zoeller, a rookie on the senior tour. "To me, from what I've seen, he's a better player now, or in the past three or four or five years, than he was on the PGA Tour."

Irwin said it's possible he is playing better than he did in 1997, when he won nine tournaments and won player of the year for the first time.

"It felt like I worked harder at it this year, and that may be because the competition is that much keener than it was then," he said. "That level has been pushed considerably since then."

Now in his eighth season on the senior tour, Irwin has never failed to qualify for the Tour Championship, which includes only the top 31 money winners.

The younger players on the senior tour have often enjoyed the most success, which makes Irwin's accomplishments all the more noteworthy. But he says age is nothing more than a number. He sticks to a workout routine that keeps him in shape and a practice routine that keeps him eager to play.

He hopes this week to maintain his mental sharpness throughout the tournament, something he failed to do last week in finishing tied for 14th at the SBC Championship in San Antonio. He and the rest of the field will be challenged by chilly, wet weather that's in the forecast.

"Those goals are going be very difficult to attain, considering what I see outside," he said. "But we're all in it, we're all playing in it.

"The secret this week is trying to keep your focus, keep your discipline and be as warm as you can possibly get."

Divots: Defending champion Bob Gilder is expected to give Irwin a run for player of the year. Gilder has four victories and is No. 2 on the money list with $2,154,637. ... Eleven senior tour events this year have been won by players 56 or older. ... The first-place check this week is $440,000. ... Senior tour rookies have won the past two Tour Championships -- Gilder last year and Tom Watson in 2000. The four rookies in this field are Zoeller, Wayne Levi, Tom Purtzer and Morris Hatalsky.


Email this page to a friend | Return to top of page