SNOQUALMIE – Lee Janzen, two-time winner of the U.S. Open, had a quick answer when asked Tuesday which golf tour is the most fun.
This one,” he said without hesitation, referring to PGA Tour Champions for players over age 50.
Janzen made the comment on the driving range of The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge as he prepared for the Boeing Classic that will be played Friday through Sunday.
“We don’t take ourselves as serious,” he said, making the comparison with the regular PGA Tour. He added, “The competition is still fierce but we’re all grateful we get to do this.”
Janzen said that no other sport offers such financial and competitive opportunities to athletes when they hit the mid-century mark as golf.
One oft-cited reason is because golf can be played at such a high level into a gifted player’s 50s and 60s that it can draw spectators.
Other factors why Champions Tour players are the most content of golfers are that most tournaments are no-cut – 79 golfers are playing for $2.1 million in prize money this weekend – and that most players have known each other for decades and are comfortable with each other.
* Pierce County native Brian Mogg, ranked as one of the world’s top 100 golf instructors, gave a kids clinic Tuesday and then was asked for three tips to help the adult bogey (handicap index roughly 18) golfer. His three suggestions:
- “Use conservative strategy off the tee. Most golfers get too aggressive off the tee.”
- Focus on improving one part of your short game that is deficient and become very good at it. Examples: short putts or chipping.
- “Increase your shoulder and hip rotation to its fullest” on full-swing shots.
Mogg, a Lakes High graduate who played at Ohio State and on the PGA Tour, is playing in the Boeing Classic on a sponsor’s exemption. The other sponsor’s exemption went to Darren Clarke, winner of the 2011 (British) Open. Clarke made his Champions Tour debut at last year’s Boeing Classic.
* Shaun Micheel, winner of the 2003 PGA Championship, was one of four golfers to qualify for the Boeing Classic Tuesday in a qualifier at High Cedars Golf Club in Orting. The medalist was Dave Cunningham of Glenview, Ill., who shot an 8-under 64. Bob Rannow of Florence, Ore., shot 65 and Micheel and David Morland IV of Palm Coast, Fla., shot 67s.
Among the golfers in the 30-man field who failed to qualify was 2013 Boeing Classic winner John Riegger, who tied for ninth with a 3-under 69.
* Mariners manager Scott Servais will play in the Korean Air Pro-Am Thursday afternoon and one of the players in his group will be Jason Tartick, star of the “Bachelor” TV show. The Mariners are off Thursday. The manager’s daughter, Jackie, is a Champion Tour employee in charge of media relations for the Boeing Classic.
* Billy Mayfair played college golf at Arizona State and follows Pac-12 sports. His pick for the conference football champion this fall – “Stanford.”
Mayfair said he considers Stanford coach David Shaw to be the best coach in the conference.
Mayfair said former Husky men’s golf coach Matt Thurmond, who was lured to Arizona State three years ago, “is doing a good job.” The Sun Devils finished fourth in the Pac-12 tournament (the Huskies were eighth), advanced to the NCAA championships, and Sun Devil Yu Chun-am finished third in the individual competition.
Regarding the Boeing Classic, Mayfair said “no lead is too big here” because players can go low on the final four holes – two of them par-5’s.
* Caleb Kraus, head pro at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, considers these to be the three best shots to watch during the tournament: 1) The tee shot over the canyon on the par-4, 14th hole; 2) The second shot on the par-5 18th hole because a lot of players will be going for the well-guarded green; 3) The tee shot on the par-3 ninth hole over a lake.
* With Mount Si in the background, David Toms and Bernhard Langer appeared via satellite on the televised Payne Stewart Award show on the Golf Channel Tuesday that honored Hale Irwin as this year’s recipient.
Langer, a two-time winner of the Boeing Classic, told Irwin, “I’m still chasing your record and I’ll probably be chasing it the rest of my life.” Irwin leads in Champions Tour victories with 45 and Langer has 40.
The award is given for ability, character, charity and sportsmanship exhibited by Stewart, who died in a 1999 plane crash.
* Before the youth clinic Tuesday, Seahawk mascot “Blitz” went up to tour pro David McKenzie on the practice range and McKenzie handed the mascot a 5-iron. The shot that followed impressed everyone, including McKenzie.
“He flushed it,” McKenzie said.