PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Paul Goydos, 57, finds summertime fountain of youth
June 15, 2022
By Bob McClellan , PGATOUR.COM
- June 15, 2022
- Paul Goydos will celebrate his 58th birthday on Monday, June 20th. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Only one PGA TOUR Champions player has finished in the top 10 in the past three events.
It’s not Steven Alker, the No. 1 player in the Schwab Cup standings who rested during last week’s American Family Insurance Championship. It’s not Bernhard Langer, Jerry Kelly, Steve Stricker or Miguel Angel Jimenez.
No, it’s a guy who will celebrate his 58th birthday on Monday. A player who has done this only one other time, in 2015, his first full season on PGA TOUR Champions.
“I guess it’s just the law of averages,” the always-unassuming Paul Goydos said this week, after going T4 at the Senior PGA Championship, T6 at the Principal Charity Classic and T8 at the American Family Insurance Championship that wrapped on Sunday. “Things have gone a little bit better here and there, you know. I’ve played pretty well for most of the year, at least from tee to green. My short game has been a little bit off; I guess that would be the kind of way of putting it.
“It got a little bit better at the PGA and again last week and just good things happened. I think Benton Harbor (site of the Senior PGA) really fit my eye, and I like the course at the Principal Charity Classic and last week kind of fit me, too. And the conditions were good for me. It was just a confluence of events.”
It was also some excellent play from Goydos, who shot in the 60s in eight of the 10 rounds that encompassed those three events and never shot worse than 71. His game is built around hitting fairways (fourth in driving accuracy this year) and greens (23rd in greens in regulation) and hoping the putter doesn’t betray him (37th in putting average). He ranked 11th in putting at the AmFam and T13 at the PCC.
Goydos famously plays practice rounds with PGA TOUR Champions compatriots Steve Flesch and Kevin Sutherland. Goydos and Sutherland each have five PGA TOUR Champions victories; Flesch has two including one this season. Goydos hasn’t won since 2017 but obviously would like to maintain the recent form that has pushed him to 20th in the Schwab Cup standings.
One thing he changed was the shafts in his irons at the behest of Flesch, who Goydos said knows more about golf equipment “than anyone on the planet.”
“I just mentioned that he was playing iron shafts that are so stiff that if he’s not ‘on’ there’s no forgiveness,” Flesch said. “He went back to some old shafts that are much softer and he’s more comfortable.
“I’m not taking any credit because Paul is a phenomenal player and so talented, although he gives himself no credit.”
It’s true. Goydos regularly refers to himself as a “journeyman.” But he does say he’s working harder on his game now than he ever has. He also believes he’s playing the best golf of his life.
“I guess I’m in the older third now of guys on the Champions Tour,” Goydos said. “There was a wall that maybe five or six years back in the day was all the time you had to win. I don't think that really exists anymore. I think guys are a little bit … it's gotten altered. The guys are very competitive out here. I remember my first tournament on Champions, I shot 14 under and I think I finished nine shots back. I was like, ‘I’m not good enough to compete out here.’
“A lot of guys are working hard on their games. And (Bernhard) Langer is a model for anyone approaching 60. He and Jay Haas have shown that you can win well into your 60s.”
It’s not that Goydos believes he’s about to rip off a handful of wins. But playing well into his 60s -- and well in his 60s -- isn’t such a bad thought.
“I think some years ago guys would look at the Champions Tour as a chance to have some fun for five or six years,” Goydos said. “Now it's actually a second career that can last 15 years if you do the right things.
“Not having a job at 58 or 59 doesn't sound that appealing, either.”