Stan Plays His First Champions Tour Event

Stan, the teacher…Stan, the player. Our favorite guru climbed back in the ring last week to compete in Newport Beach, California at the Toshiba Classic on the Champions Tour.

After qualifying on the Monday prior to the tournament, he finished T12 in the event. We grabbed him for a few minutes to hear about his experience.

In addition, we were able to have a sit-down with Stan’s son Jake, and asked him a few questions about what it was like to caddy in his dad’s debut on The Champions Tour. Click here to read Jake’s comments.

Q. Tell us what it was like to be back between the ropes. What were your thoughts and emotions?
Stan: I had lots of questions. This was a new chapter in my life – new event, new tour, new city. But I was excited to ask those questions and find out the answers. I was confident about my game, but there was still a question of how it might stack up. I was well-received by the other players and overall I felt very comfortable.

Q. You had a physical obstacle to overcome. Tell us about that.
Stan: I played great and felt great all week, for the qualifier, the practice round and the pro-am. Then an hour before my tee time for the first round, I went to the practice green to hit a few putts and my back seized up. I literally could not bend over to putt. My goal on the course was to get to the next shot and get it in the air. So I spent the whole tournament in survival mode. I don’t know maybe that helped. Plus, I leaned heavily on my routine when I was putting. That and a tip that my dad gave me in January. That really helped. Plus, my caddie picked the ball out of the hole for me on all 54 holes.

Q. Yes, you had a special caddie for the tournament…
Stan: My 14-year-old son, Jake. He was on spring break so we spent the week together.

Q. What was that like?
Stan: Very cool. He had a blast. Before we started, he was only nervous about making a mistake. He REALLY didn’t want to mess up, read a putt wrong or something like that. I told him that every caddie out there was going to do that and reading putts is a guess anyway. So early on we agreed to smile no matter what happened. I have to admit he was better at that than me. He hustled and he quickly gained the respect of the other players and caddies. He only got mad when I missed a 6-footer for par on the 53rd hole. But on 18, I had a birdie putt to finish the tournament and he said, “pour it in, Dad.” His confidence was really cool.

Q. You have become known so much as a teacher, did any of the other players want lessons between rounds?
Stan: I worked a little with Jay Haas, an old friend before the tournament. Curt Byrum and Peter Jacobsen asked for some help between rounds but I was in such pain, I didn’t stick around when I was finished playing. I tried to get some relief for my back.

Q. You finished T12. Does your good play change your goals for playing this year?
Stan: A little. My goal was to play about 6 events. What I realized this week was that taking a week off of teaching to play an event is not as big a risk as I might have thought. If I’m not teaching, I’m not earning a living. To give up a week and not be able to make some money was something that was on my mind. I’m not as worried about that anymore.

PGA TOUR photos courtesy of Stan Badz