By Paul Myers
In golf, it is not rare for players to remain competitive into their 40’s – and even beyond. Golf is a game that allows players to age far more gracefully than they do in other sports, which is why golf fans often get to enjoy watching their favorite players compete at a high level for decades. So, in one sense, it was not particularly surprising to see 47-year-old Rod Pampling secure a PGA Tour win at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. However, when you consider the fact that it had been more than 10 years since Pampling last took home a trophy, his win becomes a little harder to believe.
If you are going to manage to pull out a win after more than a decade, you might as well do it in dramatic fashion – which is exactly what Pampling did when he knocked in a 32-footer on the final green to secure the title. To put together a long career at the highest level of professional golf, which is what Rod Pampling as done, is no small feat in itself. To win at his age, however, is a big confirmation that he still belongs out on the fairways with the best in the world.
In the end, it will go down as a two-stroke victory for Pampling over Brooks Koepka, who finished the week with an impressive -18 total. Koepka didn’t have any trouble with Sunday pressure as he posted a solid 67 to give himself a chance, but Pampling’s 65 was just too much. Of course, the round of the week was the one that started things off for Pampling, a scorching 11-under-par 60 on Thursday.
Looking Forward to 2017
Switching gear to look ahead at the PGA Tour schedule a bit, there was a big announcement recently that is likely to please a large number of fans. One of the biggest complaints that many fans have regarding the current design of the PGA Tour is the fact that nearly every tournament uses the same format. It is 72-hole stroke play week after week, all year long. Well, not anymore. As a change of pace, the Zurich Classic is switching to a team format, but it will still be a PGA Tour event with many of the same rewards in terms of prize money and points as a standard event. Instead of 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner and 300 to the runner-up, as is the case with a typical event, each member of the two-man winning team will receive 400 points.
It seems likely that this move will be a big hit among the players. With the chance to pick their own partner, and the chance to play a format that is usually only seen in team competitions like the Ryder Cup, it is easy to see players jumping on board with this idea. While not officially finalized, it is believed that there will be both alternate shot and best ball used during the tournament.