The Old Lions of golf are not ready to give up their crown. They refuse to quietly fade away and let the young up-starts take over. This week proves that some of the more experienced players are still plying their skills and winning.
For the first time since 2010, Padraig Harrington won a professional golf tournament. Ending the drought, he won by two-shots over Thailand’s Thanyakon Khrongpha at the Indonesia Open.
At 43 years of age, this three-time Major Champion demonstrated he is not ready for retirement and still has the game to compete at the professional level. Winning after four years will give Harrington the start he needs in 2015 to compete on a regular basis.
After bouncing around the professional golfing circuit, John Daly ended a 10-year dry spell by winning a pro-am event at the Beko Classic in Turkey.
This may not have been a world-class event but this two-time Major Champion is showing signs of renewed confidence. Daly’s up and down career has garnered many negative stories through the years and many thought his career was over. However, Daly keeps bouncing back to go head-to-head with the younger players.
Probably the biggest news of the past week is the return of Tiger Woods. The 14-time Major Champion has returned to play in the Hero World Challenge after many months of recovery from a recurring back injury. After a shaky start, Woods battled illness to rebound with a three-under 69 in the third round.
Many of the golfing experts are dissecting his new swing and chipping challenges, but seem to overlook his ability to compete at the élite level. Tiger Woods is a proven champion and has the propensity to hover at the top of the leaderboard. Although Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are the darlings of golf, the return of Tiger Woods may change their predetermined coronation as the golfers to beat in 2015.
2015 will be a very interesting year. Many of the Old Lions like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, and Steve Stricker will once again prove that they are not to be taken lightly. All ranked within the top 50 in the world, these aging champions enjoy the notoriety of their past glories. Yet, each victory invigorates their career and fuels their desire to win.
Professional golf continues to expand around the world and to sustain this growth it needs great players with recognisable names to draw in the masses.
These Old Lions are deep with experience and remember the accolades of winning. Being in contention on the last day of a tournament churns their competitive juices, and every time an Old Lion wins a tournament, new life is infused into their career.
The Grateful Golfer, Pundit Arena