KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

Early Friday Notebook: 2023 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

May 26, 2023


Jeff Babineau

da Silva has passport, willing to travel
Few players have seen as much of the world as Adilson da Silva has. Born in Brazil and raised in South Africa, da Silva, 51, is playing on the Legends Tour in Europe these days. Finishing second on the Order of Merit a year ago got him into this week’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship as well as the upcoming U.S. Senior Open. All of which meant Da Silva was headed to play in the United States for the very first time. He had never stepped foot here before landing in Texas this week, having played his last two events in South Africa and Austria.

He had one of the better afternoon rounds on Thursday, shooting 67.

“I think in this game there's no shortcuts,” da Silva said. “You got to put the work and traveling in. In fact, it's my first time to America, and people say it's big and better, and it is. It's an eye-opener. It's an amazing place, amazing people, amazing golf course. It's just incredible.”

da Silva played the Sunshine Tour in South Africa predominantly, where he won nine times and set a record for consecutive cuts made (43). But his biggest thrill came in 2016 in Brazil, his birthplace, when he hit the opening tee shot as golf returned to the Olympic Games.

Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco makes way for the ‘new’ guy, Stewart Cink
In most professional sports leagues, being a rookie can be a daunting task. On the PGA TOUR Champions, it’s a huge opportunity. Turning 50 for a golfer who stayed competitive through his 40s can be a lucrative endeavor. Stewart Cink, an eight-time winner on the PGA TOUR, turned 50 on Wednesday and is making his debut among the over-50 set this week at Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco. He is off to a nice start, too.

“There's a lot of guys I keep up with, we text and stuff back and forth. But I don't ever see 'em,” Cink said. “Guys that I've been friends with since my kids were tiny. So I’ve gotten to see a lot of those guys and catch up with 'em and spend a little bit of time. I can see why guys really enjoy playing on the PGA TOUR Champions or the senior majors, it's really, it's fun. And after you've been in the grind for a long time – it's a grind out here too, the guys play great. But it's just, out here, it's like grinding with a smile.”

Cink, who edged Tom Watson to win the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry in Scotland, hasn’t had his best stuff thus far on the PGA TOUR in 2023. In 16 starts, he has missed eight cuts and counts only one top-25 finish (T-21, Sony Open) on his record. Part of his lull, he says, is due to his youngest son, Reagan, not being on his bag.

Three years ago, Reagan was offered a job at Delta Airlines that got put on hold with COVID-19, and was looking for something to do. He came out to caddie for his dad for a week in California, they won (2020 Fortinet Championship), and Reagan stayed on the bag for a longer run. The father-son tandem would win twice together; Stewart said the two are always ‘caddying’ for one another when they play at home, and Reagan is so much like his dad. He misses his voice out there.

“It was such a fun time, regardless of the results,” Stewart Cink said. “When he went back to work and basically ‘fired’ me, I wasn't really prepared for how like kind of devastated I would feel on the inside. Not that I was really devastated, but it did kind of like take me a little while to dig out of that hole. I just was not really myself for the last half a year or so. And the last, I don't know, say three or four weeks, I've just been feeling a little bit, physically, a little bit more in command over the ball."

Lisa Cink, Stewart’s wife and mother to their two sons, has taken a turn on the bag this season once Reagan went to work at Delta. Stewart jokes that she doesn’t know a lot about golf, but she certainly knows him, and that’s a big plus. Lisa is doing well after being diagnosed with cancer a few years back.

“We're having fun. That's really what it's all about,” Stewart said. “When you have a good time, you have a good attitude and you're enjoying it, then lower scores tend to follow you.”