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The Golden Golfers

PGA professionals over 40 were once judged over the hill, but last year eight different players won 13 times on the tour
Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
Kurt Russell, May/June 2006

(continued from page 3)

Funk has some decisions to make this year that the other winners in their 40s don't. He will turn 50 in June, making him eligible for the Champions Tour. Early in 2006, he was looking at playing the U.S. Senior Open as his debut on the Champions Tour, but didn't want to commit himself past that. He would love to make the Ryder Cup team, which requires accumulating enough points in PGA Tour events. Of course, the Champions Tour might be easier pickings for him, but he's not ready to concede that he can't play with the youngsters anymore.

He made the Presidents Cup team last September and captain Jack Nicklaus asked him which tour he planned to play.

"I said, 'I don't know what I'm going to do,'" said Funk.

"He said, 'You'll know when you're not competitive—whatever goals you set out are not easily attained or you're not making them—[and then] you'll move over. But there's no reason to jump over [now].'"

It wasn't so long ago that players in their 40s were hanging on so that they could be competitive in their 50s playing with the seniors. But there's no hurry anymore. Middle age never looked so good to a professional golfer, nor was it ever so lucrative. Therefore, staying in shape is the mantra of the day.

Or maybe not.

"Yeah, well, I ought to get myself in better shape," says Calcavecchia. "I actually used to run some. But it isn't going to happen. I'll hit balls, have a couple of pops and see how it goes."

Jeff Williams is the golf columnist for Cigar Aficionado.

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