SNOQUALMIE — Two longtime PGA Tour players will make their Champions Tour debuts at this week’s Boeing Classic.
Duffy Waldorf turned 50 on Monday and Gene Sauers had his 50th birthday on Wednesday.
Like a lot of pro players who have seen their successes — and, similarly, their earnings — fall off in their late 40s, both Waldorf and Sauers are looking forward to a rebirth of sorts on the 50-and-over Champions Tour.
Turning 50 “is a blessing in disguise,” joked Sauers on Thursday. “I can’t wait to play.”
Both golfers have had this week’s tournament penciled on their calendars for some time, and they’ve spent the last few months reminding each other of their forthcoming birthdays.
That happened “almost every week,” Sauers said. “(I’d say) ‘Well, Duffy, we’ve got six weeks to go. We’ve got three weeks to go.’ And everybody out there (on the PGA Tour) kept saying, ‘When’s your birthday, when’s your birthday?’”
Being on the Champions Tour “is almost like a reward for having put in all those years on the regular tour,” Waldorf said. “It’s nice to come to some nice weather and beautiful scenery, so I’m looking forward to making my debut here.”
Spectators at Thursday’s pro-am got an eye-opening surprise when three black bears — evidently, a mother and two cubs — strolled onto the No. 12 hole. Pro Michael Allen and his amateur partners were playing the hole at the time.
In baseball, games often begin with a ceremonial first pitch. But this year, as always, the Boeing Classic will start with a flyover.
Doing the honors will be a Boeing 747-8, which will fly over the golf course at 1,000 feet prior to the opening tee shots.