BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) Everywhere they go, Ben Crenshaw and Hal Sutton usually are greeted by the same lines.
Not surprising, really, since their words have become golf lore.
Odds are, neither will add some epic chapter to their legacies this weekend at the Allianz Championship, which starts Friday to open the Champions Tour Florida swing. But two sentences – two simple, unscripted, unforgettable lines – will be oft-repeated, a common occurrence whenever Crenshaw and Sutton tee it up.
“I hear that all the time,” Sutton said this week.
So does Crenshaw, and neither of them mind, either.
All those lines do is harken both back to perhaps the quintessential moment of their careers.
– “I have a good feeling about this,” is how a finger-shaking Crenshaw closed his remarks after Day 2 of the 1999 Ryder Cup, and sure enough, the American side he captained made an huge comeback from an 10-6 deficit in the next day’s singles matches to win at Brookline.
– “Be the right club today!” was Sutton’s fabled comment as he stared down an approach in the rain-delayed final round of the 2000 Players Championship, where he held off none other than Tiger Woods in a memorable duel.
In the gallery for practice rounds this week, even with only perhaps a couple dozen people watching them at any time, sure enough, that’s what they kept hearing on The Old Course at Broken Sound.
For both, the trick will be having good feelings and picking right clubs through this weekend, with $255,500 awaiting the winner.
“We’re all so lucky that we have anything competitively to do after the age of 50,” Crenshaw said. “We still are, I think, the only group anywhere, any athletic group really, that has anything do after the age of 50. We want to compete and we want to compete against the players that we grew up with and learned the game with. That’s the fun of it.”
So, too, are strolls down fairways and memory lane at the same time.
There was a time when Sutton wouldn’t have appreciated hearing someone in a gallery incessantly shout “be the right club today” after his swings.
Not anymore. Having taken what essentially amounted to four years off from golf, Sutton is more calm and mellow than ever.
“I appreciate what I have more,” Sutton said.
He’s got a new go-to line, too, albeit one the TV cameras didn’t catch.
It came last summer, when Sutton and his 5-year-old son sat alone and watched Woods beat Rocco Mediate in the 19-hole U.S. Open playoff.
“My son looks up and says, ‘Daddy, you beat him, didn’t you?”’ Sutton said. “I looked at him and grinned and said, ‘Yeah, I did, buddy.”
There’s no Tiger for Sutton to worry about this week, of course.
Still, it’s a strong field, even without defending champion Scott Hoch, who is still out with a wrist injury.
Bernhard Langer – playing this week in the city he calls home – is coming off a win in the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii, giving him five wins in 26 tries so far among the 50-and-over set.
“I want to continue building off what I did last season,” Langer said. “There’s still more I want to accomplish out here.”
Hale Irwin, Craig Stadler and Mark James will make up one featured threesome in the opening round, Nick Price is in the field this week, and some crowd pleasers like Lee Trevino, the 69-year-old who says he intends to play “eight to 10” times this season, also are in the 79-man event.
“I haven’t done anything for three months since I had knee surgery,” Trevino said. “But my wife told me it was time to go.”