Kerr Victor at CME Group Tour Championship
I’m still getting used to the kind of money that’s getting thrown around these days on the various golf tours, and even though I know that the LPGA is running behind the deep treasure chests of the PGA, it’s still eye-popping to see how the winners and almost winners did this weekend at the CME Group Tour Championship. Cristie Kerr won it, and was paid handsomely for her trouble, but she didn’t get the big check. Lydia Ko got that, even though she finished the day back in the back by six strokes.
The last few tournaments of the year crescendo up to a massive pot at the end. The winner of the final tournament does very well, but the whopper goes to the one who put in a long-term performance through travels around the world, and by enduring throughout the calendar and seasons. For winning the tournament, Cristie won a cool half a million on her run for the CME Globe payoff. Lydia, who has been a major nuisance for anyone who thinks they should win all the time, walked away with twice that – very impressive. You’ve got to love a profession that dumps a lot of money on you in the last week of the business year, even though you didn’t win it or threaten to. It’s usually more of a “What have you done for me lately?” scenario.
It was all set up to go to one of the usual suspects, most of whom are young, and most of whom have tournament wins from this and recent years. Then along comes Kerr, who is around 38 years of age. I can scarcely believe that I could possibly view 38 as old. As the years have gone by, 38 has now fallen into a group I call kids. Ok, so Cristie Kerr the old kid steps in front of Ko, Inbee Park and a host of fine Korean golfers to take this check home. What was that all about, and why should we be surprised?
Should we assume that newer golfers just represent a physically and mentally superior generation to the last one? I wouldn’t risk falling into speculation that Mickey Wright and Bobby Jones wouldn’t be good in this generation. I’m sure that they would. What about the youth question? Maybe an 18 year-old might think that at 38, you wake up in the morning with arthritis in the shoulders, a film over the eyes, and a cane by the bedside, but sorry – it’s not so. Many will never do that. Should we assume that golfers who have been here a while are no longer excited by what they’re doing? Is it not so magical now? Has it become just a job? That does happen most of the time. There is a point where your profession becomes just what it is, a profession. But there are those who love their work just as much as they always did, and they love winning more than ever. I guess that Cristie Kerr is one of those.
Regardless, with Inbee winning or coming close so often, Ko seemingly always in the winner’s spotlight, Gerina Piller finishing in the top group week after week, and veterans like Cristie Kerr, who has already won a cool 15 million, the race to the CME prize isn’t quite so dire as it might feel to them. That group could buy a Rolls or two, and just drive there. I take special notice of precocious players like Ko and the others, but it does my heart good to see someone who is a few years older maintain and flex their vitality in top competition. It reminds us that everyone has a different type of ace in their hand. Sometimes one type is best, sometimes the other – just so long as you have some. Kerr played them all this week.