Stewart Cink, 49, ‘in denial’ about age, not planning to play PGA Tour Champions tour full-time just yet
The one thing that can’t be beaten is father time.
However, Stewart Cink is coming close.
The 49-year-old, who has played on the PGA Tour since the late ’90s, notched his seventh Tour victory in September 2020 and then added another win at the 2021 RBC Heritage. He will turn 50 on May 21, but doesn’t feel like it.
“Other than having to hold the menu further away to read it these days, I’m really not feeling any older at all,” Cink told PGATour.com. “I would say that I feel as good as ever. I don’t feel like I’ve lost any speed with my swing. I’ve got to say that being close to hitting 50 feels great.”
Once he turns a half-century old, Cink can take his talents to the PGA Tour Champions. The world No. 150 plans to dabble on the over-50 circuit. However, not far removed from winning twice in a season, the Alabaman still plans to chase PGA Tour glory — especially after the Tour recently overhauled its schedule and how players are compensated.
“I will probably sprinkle in a few [PGA Tour Champions] events, but my plan is to focus on PGA Tour golf for a while,” Cink said Thursday in a PNC Championship presser. “They keep elevating these events and making the prize even more rich, so sounds like a pretty good experience to me.
“I still have a lot left I think in my tank and I have a lot of years for Champions tour golf and so my plan is to sick stick to PGA Tour for a while and Champions tour will be there, but I’m going to dip a toe in the water, too.”
Part of that decision was because of a former major champion who has recently become a standout senior tour player.
“Pádraig Harrington encouraged me to continue playing on the PGA Tour for some reason,” Cink said. “Maybe he thinks I’ve got some potential out there, I don’t know. He wants me to stay out there, I don’t know what to read into that.”
Maybe the fact that Cink has intimately seen some of golf’s most indelible performances by an elder statesman has impacted his decision.
At this year’s PGA Championship, Cink said Phil Mickelson winning the 2021 PGA at age 50 — becoming the oldest major winner ever — “blows the ceiling off what we thought was impossible before.”
Of course, Cink is the reason Mickelson isn’t nine years short of that record.
At the 2009 Open Championship, Cink defeated 59-year-old Tom Watson in a playoff at Turnberry for his lone major victory.
“Not only did [Watson] show how great a golfer he is,” Cink said afterward, “but he showed what a great game we all play, the longevity that can exist.”
Thirteen years later, Cink still believes those words, and maybe it’s because he doesn’t yet believe — or feel — his age.
“I’m borderline in denial that my 50th birthday is near,” Cink told the Tour. “But I don’t turn 50 until May. I’ve got to figure out how to be the best player on the PGA Tour that I can until then and then after that … we’ll see.”