KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

Early Sunday Notebook: 2023 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

May 28, 2023


Jeff Babineau

Oh, did we forget to mention the pool?
Players on the PGA Tour Champions circuit have a Hole-In-One Club, optional, of course, with players who wish to participate throwing in a few dollars each week for some fun, hoping to make an ace and get a piece of the pool. It was one of the first questions that Corey Pavin asked on Thursday after he aced the par-3 fourth: “I wonder how many guys are in the hole-in-one pool this week?”

On Saturday, Stewart Cink hit the shot of the day at the 191-yard 13th hole, a beautiful 6-iron that pitched on the green, tracked toward the hole and vanished into the hole, rolling in at the pace of a putt. Perfect shot. He said it was his “eighth or ninth” ace. All but one have been in competition, he knows. “I don’t play that much when I’m at home,” he said.

Cink turned 50 on Wednesday, and this is his first event on the over-50 set. He was asked after the ace, “So, are you in the Hole-in-One Club?"

“Nope. Didn't know about that until my ball drops,” Cink said, smiling. “And Padraig (Harrington), you know, he respectfully let me know that after I made the hole-in-one. I think it might be a part of the (rookie) hazing. But you know, as a rookie, you don't get told all the stuff that's good until you got to figure it out yourself. And that's one way I figured it out.”

Remembering Chuck Mohr, a top caddie
Bob Estes got notice after his round at Fields Ranch East on Saturday that his longtime caddie, Chuck Mohr, had passed away following complications from a surgery he had two months ago. Mohr had retired from his work as a caddie and was “living his best life” with his wife, Karen, down in Florida, according to Estes.

On his Twitter feed, Estes said Karen told him that Chuck had passed away early in the morning on Saturday. Estes tweeted: “Chuck was very loyal, trustworthy, consistent and positive in the 20+ years that he caddied for me. We had our moments (usually because of me) but he stayed with me through injuries and plenty of poor play. He loved being a part of the @PGATOUR and the @ChampionsTour.“

Champions Tour player and NBC analyst Brad Faxon tweeted, “That’s sad stuff Bob. I will always remember Chuck as being so thoughtful, and kind. World needs more people like Chuck now more than ever.”

Estes and Mohr started working together in 2001, when Estes had his best season on the PGA Tour, winning twice and finishing ninth on the money list. Estes won four times on the PGA Tour.

Alker sizes up his week
Steven Alker, defending champion of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, was one of the few players who had the opportunity to play the Fields Ranch East course before this week, coming in early for a media event when the PGA Tour Champions was between events in Texas. He said in short time, the course changed a lot. Most surprising to him was that the usually strong winds that blow through this part of Texas didn’t show up this week.

“We haven't had the wind this week,” Alker said Saturday after his second consecutive 69. “Really surprised. Yeah, just now and again it's popped up. But I was kind of expecting a day where we were going to get 15 or 20 miles an hour. Just some wind to keep us honest.

“And the golf course is playing different. It's not as soft. Obviously getting some water on it ready for the tournament, but it's dried out a bit, it's running a little bit, the greens are bouncing. So, yeah, it's a different golf course. I mean, I've actually enjoyed it. It's come leaps and bounds in just a month. They have done a great job.”

Alker shot 63 Sunday at Harbor Shores in Michigan a year ago to come from behind and capture his first senior major. In 2022, he had four victories and four runners-up finishes in 23 starts, and at year’s end, he was voted the PGA Tour Champions Player of the Year.