Why Are Senior Pros Competing So Successfully Against Players Half Their Age?

By Mel Sole | February 26, 2010
Tom Watson of USA tees off on the 9th hole during the final round of the 138th Open Championship on the Ailsa Course, Turnberry Golf Club, Scotland.

Tom Watson of USA tees off on the 9th hole during the final round of the 138th Open Championship on the Ailsa Course, Turnberry Golf Club, Scotland.

With Tom Watson’s play at the British Open, Michael Allen’s recent stand in Hawaii, and Kenny Perry‘s continuous charge, it seems like this new phenomenon of Senior Pros competing successfully against the kids is here to stay. Plus, with guys like Fred Couples, Paul Azinger and Corey Pavin entering the fray again via the Champions Tour, I believe we’ll see many more grizzled veterans mixing it up with the young bucks.

I think it’s great for golf! It creates new interest and bridges the generations. What other sport offers the chance to see 18- and 20-year-olds going head-to-head with players aged 40 to 60? Even non-golfers tuned into the TV coverage of last year’s British Open when they heard that 59-year-old Tom Watson was close to an historic win in this famous tournament. People of all ages wanted to see how an “old guy” could compete and win against players four decades younger than himself.

Sportswriter John Paul Newport thinks that Watson isn’t just good for his age but that this is what 59 looks like now. Fred Funk told him, “As long as you’re feeling pretty good health-wise, age is not a big factor.” Hale Irwin said that he played his best golf in his 50′s, when he won 45 times. He believed he was in the best physical shape of his life and the need to compete was still there. Also impressive was 40-year-old Catriona Matthew‘s win at the Women’s British Open last summer. Again, the field included mostly younger players, some only half her age, and none had just had a baby as she had just 11 weeks prior.

Why Are These Older Players Able to Compete at Such a High Level?

One theory espoused by Ryan Ballengee is that older players played in the pre-Tiger era and learned how to win. Younger guys today have been less often in contention and have not won nearly enough to gain the experience of how to do it. Players like Tom Watson and Greg Norman have been in the winners circle often enough in their careers to have an edge over the less experienced.

I think that better overall conditioning and new nutritional knowledge are key factors for success with older players. It’s true that older players have more physical issues due to injuries sustained over time, but if they’re healthy and the intensity is still there, a player who stays fit and maintains a good diet should be able to compete with golfers a third their age.

I’ve recently discovered nutritional supplements that have made a huge difference in how I feel at 62 years of age. The one I recommend the most is MaxGXL: it increases your energy, detoxifies the body, and strengthens the immune system. Two-time National Long Drive Champion Art Sellinger says that every golfer should be taking Max GXL. Listen to what he says about his increased energy and flexibility, and how it’s changed his life in this video.

Golf is a unique sport for many different reasons, but perhaps one of the most notable sources of its appeal is that it’s one of those rare endeavors in life where age just doesn’t matter. Stay fit, eat right, and hit ‘em straight!

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