The Loop

Eger, 59, playing like a youngster

November 05, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO - David Eger bogeyed the last hole of the third round at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship Saturday afternoon. He wasn't happy about that, but he wasn't exactly steaming mad either. Eger still finished with a five-under 66 at TPC Harding Park and made a nice move up the leader board to T-9, within striking distance (six shots) of leader Jay Don Blake with another hot round. The fact that Eger was even in the field, which is limited to the top 30 money winners on the Champions Tour prior to the season-ending event, was an accomplishment in itself. On the Champions Tour, where those arriving without a cushion of all-time earnings on the PGA Tour have to prove themselves year by year and finish in the top 30 or win a tournament to stay fully exempt for the following season, Eger, 59, has beaten the odds. After recovering from a broken ankle suffered in June 2010, Eger had his best season in 2011, winning the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf with Mark McNulty, finishing second at the Senior PGA Championship and ranking 13th in earnings coming into this week, the seventh time since turning 50 he has cracked the top 30. He has $6,582,611 in career winnings on the Champions Tour, a far cry from the $12,804 he earned in 1979, his best of four unspectacular PGA Tour seasons from 1978-1981 prior to becoming a golf rules official and administrator with the PGA Tour and USGA "When I started playing out here, I gave myself three or four years," Eger said at Harding Park. "Now, I'm going to start my 11th season next year. I've been very fortunate, except for the broken ankle last year. I've played better than I've ever played in my life." Eger's golf improved when he was in his 40s after having gotten his amateur status reinstated. He made the United States Walker Cup team at age 49 and competed well against players such as Luke Donald and Bryce Molder. "One of the biggest things was making that Walker cup team when I was almost 50," Eger said. "That kind of catapulted me into thinking maybe I could make it out here. But I had no plans. I just wanted to give this 100 percent." A decade later, the effort has paid off. "I've had a good run," Eger said. "I'd like to have another two, three years, keep playing out here into my 60s. I'm certainly very lucky where my life is right now. I've been very blessed." -- Bill Fields