PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Woody Austin to travel PGA TOUR Champions in new RV
July 02, 2020
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- July 02, 2020
- Woody Austin and his wife will travel to the tournaments in their new RV. (Getty Images)
Woody Austin was off to a flying start in 2020 on PGA TOUR Champions before the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to golf and every other professional sport in March.
He had posted four top 10s in five events, including a runner-up at the Cologuard Classic, and is seventh in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. Since the beginning of the 2019 season, Austin, 56, has a .500 top-10 percentage (16 of 32).
He’s sometimes self-deprecating about the state of his game, but the fact is he has only been getting better with age. His methodology isn’t for everyone, but it works for him.
Austin hasn’t been playing much during the pandemic, by choice. And he says he won’t necessarily pick up his pace before the scheduled restart of PGA TOUR Champions, on July 31 at the Ally Challenge at Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc, Michigan.
“I’m sure everybody will find a way to be ready,” Austin said this week. “Maybe a few will be a little rusty. It depends. It’s like anything. You’ve got guys like me who are just happy to still be playing and I pretty much worry about my game when I get where I’m going. But then you have guys like Bernhard (Langer) and Scott McCarron, who are taking it as seriously as they did when they were 25, grinding every day, playing all the time. I’m not into that.
“I’m sure those guys will be very prepared and ready to go. I think the rest of us or most of us will just be happy to be playing again.”
One thing Austin hopes is on point is his driving. Not off the tee, mind you, though that could stand some improvement (he’s 56th in total driving). No, we’re talking about on the road. The Kansas resident and his wife, Shannon, have responded to the pandemic by buying an RV they plan to use almost exclusively for the rest of the season.
He says it was her idea and a good one. He also says she’s more worried about COVID-19 than he is, though he has been observing social distancing and wearing a mask in public places.
“We are gonna drive the rest of the year,” said Austin, a four-time winner on the PGA TOUR and on PGA TOUR Champions. “No hotels, no flying. We’re taking our precautions, but as far as me getting out there and playing and worrying about it … I’m not gonna do that. I certainly don’t want to become a hermit that doesn’t leave his house.”
Austin’s biggest concern was the amount of driving, but Shannon took a driving class to get comfortable behind the wheel of their 35-foot Thor A.C.E. 33.1. So they’ll split the driving time, and Austin’s caddie will join them for a couple of the longer drives.
Austin said he didn’t talk to any of his fellow competitors on PGA TOUR Champions about their RV experiences, though a few of the guys, notably Mark Calcavecchia, drive from event to event.
“Calc has the bus. He’s got the big thing,” Austin said. “Ours is just a motor coach, an RV, his Prevost is like 15 times the size the one I have. Shannon texted with Brenda (Calcavecchia’s wife) a few times. I don’t know If we’re allowed to even park next to those guys because ours will have to get put in the caddie parking lot.
“Theirs is huge. Ours is just for me and her.”
Austin says that perhaps they’ll do some sightseeing as time and route allows. They also might play a course or two on the way if something strikes their fancy.
“I think we’ll have a blast,”Austin said. “We’re not gonna have to worry about delays or canceled flights or problems with quarantine or planes or hotels.
“I think it’s gonna be pretty cool.”