BLAINE, Minn. -- The Champions Tour has witnessed a resurgence over the past few years with the addition of Fred Couples, Kenny Perry and Tom Lehman to name a few, but every once in a while we are reminded that the greats of the game are ageless.
Nine years removed from his induction in the World Golf Hall of Fame, Tom Kite is back in a familiar spot – in contention on Sunday.
After two rounds at the 3M Championship, Kite stands just two-strokes back of the leader Tom Pernice Jr. and a date with history. With a win on Sunday, Kite would become the oldest person to ever win a professional golf event. The current holder of that honor is Mike Fetchik, who won on his 63rd birthday in 1985. Records are made to be broken, but apparently this record didn’t get the memo as it has stood for nearly 30 years.
At 63 years and eight months, he’s not feeling his age, at least not this weekend. That one of the benefits of being healthy, something Kite mentioned after his round, “I’ve had some surgery in the time since I won (2008) that kind of set me back a couple years”. Of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s played particularly well here with three top-10s in the past five years.
Kite realizes Sunday’s final-round will be an uphill challenge though. He’s fully aware that the decade he holds over most of the players on this tour is a factor. When asked about his age in relation to the other players on the Champions Tour Kite said, “When you’re 50 and you pop out here it seems fairly easy and all the sudden you’re 63 and it doesn’t come as easy as it once did”.
The situation that Sunday’s final round presents is nothing new to Kite. He’s won 10 times on the Champions Tour since joining in 2000, but it’s been nearly five years since he last claimed a victory. Asked if he’ll have nerves on Sunday he replied, “I hope so. That’s the worst thing [about] not playing particularly well, you don’t get nerves. I’m looking forward to getting nervous tomorrow”.
Looking forward to getting nervous, now that’s something you’d never hear from a 50-year-old.
[Editor's note: Greg Vara is on-site for Devil Ball at the 3M Championship.]