Spotlight on | Golf

Hall of Fame golfer Nick Price ‘happy to be back’ in Allianz Championship

 
 
Greg Price, left, watches his father and Hall of Fame golfer Nick Price prepare to putt on the 10th hole during the Father-Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando on Dec. 15, 2013.
Greg Price, left, watches his father and Hall of Fame golfer Nick Price prepare to putt on the 10th hole during the Father-Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando on Dec. 15, 2013.
Willie J. Allen, Jr. / AP

Special to the Miami Herald

The first time Nick Price, Hall of Fame golfer, played a shot on the over-50 Champions Tour, it was in the Allianz Championship.

“I very soon realized the Champions Tour was the place for me,” Price said.

The Champions Tour and the Allianz Championship have welcomed Price, who will turn 57 in two weeks, with open arms, and Price has reciprocated.

“If it was just all about golf, the way I’ve played the last few years, I would be retired by now,” Price said. “But on this tour, it’s not all about golf. It’s all about relationships. We’re all Baby Boomers. We talk, we have fun.”

Price not playing in the Allianz, which will be held Feb. 7-9 at the Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, is something the tournament does not even want to ponder. They want the three-time major champion and 18-time PGA Tour winner teeing it off in their event.

And he will this year.

A year ago, Price missed the Allianz because of torn ligaments in his left elbow that required surgery.

“I’m very happy to be back in this tournament,” Price said, although he admitted his elbow is “somewhere around 80 percent.”

Nevertheless, he said, “It’s going to be great. It’s great playing and living in South Florida while the rest of the country is putting on mittens and ski masks.”

Price readily admitted he doesn’t take golf as seriously as he once did. “The most fun I have now is playing in shorts with friends,” he said. “But in tournaments, I still hope there is a little bit of golf left in me. But sometimes, my body is not listening to what my mind is telling it to do.

“You don’t take a year off at age 55 and come back and play like you did.”

Price is definitely still serious about his love for golf. Just not so single-minded and serious-faced about winning. If he wins, that’s great. If he doesn’t, that’s also great, because he’s getting in rounds with his buddies. That’s the attitude that pervades the Champions Tour.

Price summed up that attitude simply. He said a good golfing friend, Harold Henning, once gave him some great perspective.

“He used to say about playing golf, ‘I have a great future behind me,’ ” Price said with a laugh. “So true.”

Awards

The Southern Chapter of the PGA held its annual awards ceremony, and Robert Campbell of the Jim McLean Golf School at Trump Doral was named the Golf Professional of the Year. Other pros and individuals who have progressed the game of golf in South Florida who were recognized included Chad Middaugh, Jared Isaacs, John Pallot, Shawn Gifford, Michael Bronkema, Robert Mallek, Charles DeLucca III, Larry Blanchard, Gary Knapp, Nick Fortunato, Brian Varsey, Patrick Patterson, Gary Braeseke and Steve Sponder.

That’s a fact, Jack

In golf, 1-under-par is a birdie, 2-under-par is an eagle and 3-under-par is an albatross. So what do you call a 4-under-par, which is a hole-in-one on a par-5? Obviously, it doesn’t happen often (five verified times, most records say). Officially, it is called a condor. Most times it has occurred, the players took a shortcut, cutting a sharp dogleg. However, the most notable condor was made by Mike Crean, who holed it out from the tee on a straight-away 517-yard par-5 in 2002. Altitude helped. The shot was made in Denver.

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