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Bob Niger was the NCGA’s Player of the Year in 2005 and ’06, but in 15 Senior events, he has one top-25 fi nish, with career earnings of $57,999.


very golf course has one: a scratch golfer in his late-40s who opines about his


chances to cash in on the Champions Tour. The


50-and-over circuit is the ulti- mate mulligan for late-bloomers or golfers whose professional dreams had been derailed in their youth. It’s also a kind of mirage for delusional jocks thinking they can fi nd a second competitive career in retirement; Hall of Famers from Michael Jordan to Johnny Bench to Jerry Rice to John Smoltz have talked about playing Senior golf in their spare time. Recently I asked Colin Montgomerie, the reign- ing U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA champ, if a player who had never been a touring pro could fi nd success on the Champions Tour. “That’s totally delusional,” Monty said with characteristic blunt- ness. “Totally. No chance at all. The standard is far, far too good. Don’t be mistaken that at 50 these guys can’t play. Have you seen the scores? The lot of them are likely to shoot a 62 or 63 any day of the


week. And that’s in tournament conditions with tournament pressure. Just because a guy can shoot an oc- casional round in the 60s on his home course playing with his mates, that’s light years from being able to compete out here.” Bench, the power-hitting catcher


Reds Hall-of-Fame catcher Johnny Bench could hold seven baseballs in his hand. But he couldn’t hold a candle to the Senior Tour players. Bench shot 97 in a Senior Tour event.


PHOTO: AP


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