Corey Pavin has won 21 pro golf tournaments, including 15 PGA Tour wins, highlighted by the 1995 U.S. Open.
The 54-year-old is ranked in the top 10 in the world for more than a decade (from 1986-1997), Pavin played on three Ryder Cup teams and was the PGA Tour’s leading money winner in 1991 when he was named Player of the Year.
A California native who played at UCLA, Pavin has finished in the top 20 at the U.S. Open seven times. He also notched three top 10 finishes at the British Open.
Q: Why do you feel your game seems to fit open formats?
A: It’s a setup that I like. Not always but usually the harder the golf course is set up the better it is for me. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I have come close to winning the U.S. Senior Open a couple of times. I’m hoping this will be a good week for me.
How has your game been recently?
I’ve been playing better this summer. At times it was a bit of a struggle until the past couple of weeks. Getting back in contention a week ago definitely helped my confidence with what I’m doing. I feel better about my game. How that translates this week I have no idea. I’ll certainly give it my all for four days.
Who do you feel are some of the favorites to win this week at Oak Tree?
There are so many players capable but the first one who comes to mind is Bernhard Langer. He’s played so consistently well all year. Jay Haas, who has won here before, also has had an incredible year. I just played in the final round with him a week ago. He’s playing solid golf, doing everything very well and he’s won major championships on this tour. Jeff Sluman also has been very consistent.
Are fans sometimes surprised by the quality of play on the Champions Tour?
I certainly was surprised when I joined the Champions Tour by how good everybody could still play, how low the scores were, how tough it was to win each week. There’s a ton of experience on this tour. A lot of guys have won over the years. It’s still high-quality golf that’s extremely competitive with a lot of really darn good players.
How big is the U.S. Senior Open? Some analysts claim it is the “Masters” of the Champions Tour?
The fact it’s on network television shows you how big a tournament it is, one of our biggest tournaments of the year. The USGA always sets up the course very hard which will test every aspect of your game. With a course like Oak Tree, a championship-caliber course, it will be a really good test for all of us.