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Hey Jordan Spieth, think you won't play on the PGA Tour Champions? 'Yeah, you will. Everybody does.'

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The joke, as Jim Furyk likes to tell it, is that everyone is thrilled to be on the PGA Tour Champions. Just thrilled. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know their prime is behind them, right?

“We all just get really excited about getting older and turning 50,” Furyk joked earlier this week. “It’s awesome.”

Snark aside, Furyk and a strong field will be lacing up their spikes on Friday to take part in the Insperity Invitational, a lucrative stop on the PGA Tour Champions at The Woodlands, just north of Houston.

Forget the whole field, just Furyk’s pairing has quite the pedigree. In fact, Furyk, Ernie Els and Colin Montgomerie — who open their first round on Friday at 11:40 a.m. ET — have amassed a combined 96 titles on the PGA and European Tours.

So the competition should be fierce at Insperity, the first of three straight weeks of PGA Tour Champions action. And while Furyk, Els and most recently, Phil Mickelson, might not be thrilled about moving to the senior circuit, they’re also realistic about their chances.

Scott McCarron poses with the trophy after winning the Insperity Invitational at The Woodlands Country Club on May 05, 2019, in The Woodlands, Texas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As reigning champion Scott McCarron said on Wednesday, what once might have been thought of as a step down becomes a wonderfully viable option as players get longer in the tooth, but shorter off the tee.

“You’ve got to remember, almost everyone that played the PGA Tour and was successful played out here. There’s only a couple guys that didn’t and those guys were guys that had a lot of other extracurricular stuff going on. They had businesses and they put their competitive juices into that. But the guys that still want to compete, they all come out here,” said McCarron, who won three times on the PGA Tour but has 11 move victories to his credit since moving to the Champions loop.

“So when I look at the Jordan Spieths and Rickie Fowlers and all these guys that have a long time before they get out here and they all say, ‘Well, I’m not going to play out there.’

“Yeah, you will. Everybody does.”

A total of 11 World Golf Hall of Famers will be on hand this week, with Els and Montgomerie being joined by Retief Goosen, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Davis Love III, Sandy Lyle, Mark O’Meara, Jose Maria Olazabal, Vijay Singh, and Ian Woosnam.

And while Furyk might joke about not being ecstatic about meeting the age threshold, he’s certainly thankful for the comforts the tour brings. And the purse — at over $2.2 million, or nearly $700K more than last week’s at the Chubb Classic in Naples, Florida — doesn’t hurt to bring up the group’s spirits.

“I enjoy being out here. I enjoy the carts, I enjoy as far as the practice rounds, carts in the pro-ams, only three-round events. It’s more much a track meet. It’s not a marathon out here, it’s a track meet. You’ve got to get out there and make some birdies and shoot some low scores,” Furyk said. “I get to see some friends that I wasn’t seeing for, say, the last five to 10 years. There’s this misconception, and I talked to some of the younger players on Tour, that everyone’s out having a beer and a glass of wine, no one’s practicing. It’s not really quite that way. Guys are shooting 15, 16 under every week.

“The range is usually packed and full of guys working on their games and working hard, and you’re seeing that even though we’re 50 and over, there’s a lot of guys that are really competitive and playing some great golf.”

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original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/04/29/pga-tour-champions-jim-furyk-insperity-invitational/

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