Last time Nick Price teed it up with the kids was three years ago — he played the ’08 Mayakoba Golf Classic and finished T42. At the Honda Classic on Thursday, the 54-year-old Champions Tour player posted an even-par 70 in only his second start on the PGA Tour since his last full season in 2006.
Playing in brutally tough conditions with high winds at PGA National, only eight players in the 144-player field broke par on Thursday. Price is currently T9 in the first round (12 players didn’t finish due to darkness), which is mighty impressive at any age.
“I drove the ball really well today, which was probably the key to my round,” said Price. “I’ve been hitting it well the last two or three weeks out on the (Champions) Tour, and I’ve been a little balky with the putter and I worked on the putting last week, changed putters and got some cute new ideas that I experimented with last week — it worked.
“I knew the scores were going to be high today and to be patient. I was saying it was US Open-type conditions and being patient in these conditions is really important.”
Price, who won the ’94 Honda Classic, is making his 14th start at this event.
When Price reached the tee of the intimidating par-3 17th, he ran into a three-group back up. Price was the last group to tee off in the morning wave on No. 1 and caught up with the last group to tee of No. 10 in the afternoon, which included 51-year-old Lee Rinker, who earned his 2011 Champions Tour card through Q-school and a spot this week by winning the sectional championship. During the long wait, Rinker and Price chatted on the tee and joked about being old. Rinker asked him if he played in Mayakoba, Price replied he didn’t because it would mean playing 4-5 weeks in a row and just one event on the regular tour was enough at his age.
Price admitted that PGA National wouldn’t have been his ideal choice for a start on the PGA Tour because of the difficulty of the course. Looks like he’s holding his own with the young guys so far!