PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Herron & Karlsson make debuts at Chubb Classic, but similarities end there
February 12, 2020
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- February 12, 2020
- Tim Herron had four PGA TOUR victories, while Robert Karlsson won 11 times on the European Tour. (Getty Images)
Rookies Tim Herron and Robert Karlsson are making their PGA TOUR Champions debuts at this week’s Chubb Classic in Naples, Florida.
They’ll both be using clubs and balls. And that’s about where the similarities end.
Karlsson, who won 11 times on the European PGA TOUR, is a lanky 6-foot-5 Swede who was nicknamed “The Scientist” for his analytical style of play.
Herron, who won four times on the PGA TOUR, is a non-lanky 5-10 American who happily answers to “Lumpy,” a nickname given to him as a kid when he was shagging balls working at a pro shop in his native Minnesota.
They’re both happy to be rookies again at age 50, hoping to make the most of the next stage of their professional golfing careers.
Herron tried to keep his game sharp by playing in 10 events on the PGA TOUR last year. He made three cuts.
“I’ve really gotten to know my kids in the last six years, and that’s been good,” Herron, who has three sons, said this week. “But they’re ready for me to be on the road a little bit. My goal is to have every kid come out. I’ll have one out (at a time), should be easy enough. Fly in on Friday, home on Sunday.”
Carson, his oldest, was on the bag when Herron shot a 64 in November at The RSM Classic. It was his lowest competitive round since 2016.
Herron said about 50 family and friends would be at the Chubb Classic to cheer him on.
“I’m just gonna enjoy this week and then really get into the grind,” Herron said. “It’s somewhat casual out here and I’m not gonna get too intense. I know these guys can still play and a lot of them take it seriously. It’s a time in my life to play some serious golf and have some fun, and I think the Champions Tour is a perfect fit for me. It’s gonna be great.”
Herron is eligible for PGA TOUR Champions based on his status on the all-time money list. Karlsson earned his privileges by virtue of finishing third at Q-School.
“The Q-School is tough with only five spots, so to make it through there really meant a lot,” Karlsson said this week. “I played pretty well in some pressure situations.”
Karlsson moved his family to North Carolina in 2010 so he could play on the PGA TOUR. He had become the first Swedish player to win the European Tour Order of Merit, in 2008, on the strength of a pair of victories and three top-10 finishes in majors.
He said he has spoken to Miguel Angel Jimenez and Stephen Leaney about transitioning to PGA TOUR Champions. Leaney, from Australia, turned 50 last year and played in 15 events. He posted three top 10s but still had to go through Q-School, where he earned his card for 2020 along with Karlsson.
“Miguel and Stephen are the guys I’ve talked to the most,” Karlsson said. “Stephen said you play in more pro-ams on the [PGA TOUR Champions] and it takes some getting used to to get in your practice around your other obligations.
“It’s all new to me. I’ve seen a few of the courses, certainly Akron, but mostly I’ll be learning as I go.”
Karlsson said he began in earnest to prepare for the PGA TOUR Champions about two years ago. He figures his game is in pretty good shape. He said he believes his length will be an asset, but only if he can keep the ball in the fairway.
“These guys can still play, and that’s something Miguel and Stephen said and I know it’s true,” Karlsson said. “But I know Paul Broadhurst has done well, and obviously Miguel.
“I think you’re never really satisfied with where your game is. I think as with most of the guys, I’ll need to be at my best chipping and putting to play well. But if you look at the scores, these guys can go really low. And playing only three rounds is something that will take some getting used to.”