Cook makes Champions debut at Administaff

SPRING, Texas (AP) — John Cook has won 11 PGA Tour events. He's among the top 30 career money winners. He's a confidant of Tiger Woods.

That's not nearly enough.

Cook, who took time off this year to take care of some health problems, turned 50 on Oct. 2 and will be a rookie again Friday, teeing off in his first Champions Tour event, the Administaff Small Business Classic at the Augusta Pines Golf Course.

"I have a lot to prove," Cook said. "I had a nice career, but I let some major championships go. That doesn't set well with me. I have a lot to prove to myself and to people.

"I'm not coming out here for a vacation. I'm coming out here to continue what I've done the last 28 years. Once you get inside the ropes, things change for me. Once I click on, I think I won't have trouble finding the fire."

While Cook is making his Champions Tour debut, defending champion Jay Haas is returning to chase Charles Schwab points leader Loren Roberts, who won last week's Senior Players Championship.

Haas has been a dominating force since joining the senior circuit. He finished first in the Cup race last year and had led this season's point standings for 19 weeks, including the last seven weeks in a row before Roberts took the lead with his victory Sunday. Roberts is skipping the Administaff Classic.

"What has happened is what I said could happen a couple of weeks ago," Haas said. "We were talking about the race and they were saying you're running away with it. It took one week to erase the entire lead I had.

"I'm back to chasing Loren. Hopefully, this week he's not here and I can get some points and cut into the lead and it would be down to the last two weeks like it was last year."

Cook values his friendship with Woods.

"I'm lucky," Cook said. "It shows me I've survived in this game a long time. I've remained competitive enough a long time and I've been entrusted by someone who has a chance to be the greatest golfer ever, to talk about golf.

"Early on in his career, he had a lot of questions. He sought out veteran players that have won tournaments. I pick his brain and he picks my brain and still do to this day."

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