Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hale Irwin to tee it up in 1,000th event as pro

Hale Irwin, 64 and the 2005 winner at TPC Tampa Bay, prefers the Champions Tour.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Hale Irwin, 64 and the 2005 winner at TPC Tampa Bay, prefers the Champions Tour.

Hale Irwin said he didn't realize he was approaching his 1,000th tournament since becoming a professional in 1968 until somebody told him two weeks ago at the Cap Cana Championship in the Dominican Republic. But this week will be the milestone tournament when the 64-year-old golfer tees it up at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am on Friday.

"It just doesn't seem possible," Irwin said. "I can still remember my first tournament in Memphis. I was as nervous as can be. I actually hit two people during that tournament, and I've never done that before."

Irwin is the Champions Tour's all-time wins leader with 45. He said he didn't start playing his best golf until he was 52, even though he won three U.S. Opens before that. This year Irwin has played in five senior events, with his best finish a fifth in the season opener in Hawaii. He is the 2005 Outback Steakhouse champion.

"When I got on this tour I knew this is where I should be," he said. "I didn't like to bounce around between tours. My focus has always been out here."

Seeing green

Playing in last week's Masters wasn't enough to keep several players from teeing it up this week in Lutz. Former Masters champions Tom Watson (1977, '81), Fred Couples (1992), Bernhard Langer (1985, '93), Craig Stadler (1982), Sandy Lyle (1988) and Mark O'Meara (1998) are in this week's field. Additionally, 1979 winner Fuzzy Zoeller is playing the Outback Pro-Am. He retired from Masters competition last year.

Celebrities teeing it up

While it is usually a guarded secret until tonight, we do know a couple of the celebrities who will play Friday. Actor and activist Michael J. Fox will play once again with Tim Simpson. The two played together last year when Fox made his debut at the tournament. Fox has Parkinson's disease, and Simpson needed brain surgery in 2005 to correct a benign essential tumor that made his left hand shake. Also, late-night host and actor George Lopez will play with Fuzzy Zoeller.

By the numbers

16 Players in this week's field who have won at least one major championship on the PGA Tour

59 Age of Hale Irwin when he won in 2005, making him the oldest champion in tournament history

65 Average score in 12 Champions Tour rounds for Fred Couples

200 Lowest three-round score at TPC Tampa Bay, shared by Jim Colbert, Bruce Fleischer and Mark McNulty.

Hale Irwin to tee it up in 1,000th event as pro 04/14/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 11:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Vikings coach feels better about QB Bradford playing vs. Bucs

    Bucs

    EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford moved with a little more bounce in his step during the 15 opening minutes of Thursday's practice before reporters were booted.

  2. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Friday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: RH Alex Cobb (11-10, 3.63)

    ORIOLES: RH Ubaldo Jimenez (6-10, 6.57)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  3. Bucs journal: Injury news not all bad

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs are dealing with injuries and illness as they prepare for their first road game of the season, at the Vikings on Sunday.

    Linebacker Kwon Alexander, left, who had an interception against the Bears before leaving with a hamstring injury, misses his second straight day of practice.
  4. 'Dream big' drives Lightning's Conacher brothers

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Two words: Dream big.

    Cory Conacher includes them every time he signs an autograph for a young hockey fan.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cory Conacher (89) on the ice during Lightning training camp in Brandon Friday morning (09/15/17).
  5. Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE; daughter sues NFL, Patriots

    Bucs

    BOSTON — Tests conducted on the brain of former football star Aaron Hernandez showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and his attorney said Thursday that the player's daughter is suing the NFL and the New England Patriots for leading Hernandez to believe the sport …

    Aaron Hernandez's lawyer says the former New England Patriots tight end's brain showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. [AP photo]