SAN DIEGO — As he proved a year ago by becoming the oldest U.S. Open champion in history, Ray Floyd is certainly not too old to win a golf tournament.
But, at age 44, he is too old to feel any butterflies when he picks up a club. And that seems one of the disadvantages of being so experienced, according to Floyd, who is tied with another veteran, J.C. Snead, at 17-under-par 199 after three rounds of the Shearson Lehman Brothers Andy Williams Open.
Entering today's final round, there are six golfers within two shots of the leaders, including David Edwards, Bob Lohr, Lenny Clements, Bobby Wadkins, Lon Hinkle and George Burns.
One stroke further back at 14-under-par 202 are Hal Sutton, Mark McCumber, Buddy Gardner and Craig Stadler. Lurking four shots off the lead and feeling good about his chances is Tom Watson.
After heavy rains softened the greens Friday night, the course yielded eagles with regularity (18 of them), along with an extraordinary double-eagle on the 18th hole by Edwards.
From a favorable lie on an upslope 240 yards from the pin, Edwards selected his driver, put the ball on the green on one bounce and knew from the fans' reaction he had holed the shot.
"Stuff like this happens to you--you don't make it happen," Edwards said. "I want to enjoy it, then forget it so it won't be a distraction in today's final round."
If anything, Floyd seemed even more low-key after making an eagle on No. 18.
Floyd, who has made seven hole-in-ones but no double-eagles in his career, said the most memorable shot of his life came at age 13 when he was playing in a mixed foursome with his mother and holed a shot with a three-wood on a par-4 hole.
Floyd doesn't think it will take two or three eagles to win the tournament today. In fact, his objective is not splashy, crowd-pleasing shots. He just wants to play steadily and give himself birdie opportunities.
With two second-place finishes here and a close knowledge of the greens, Floyd will take a rather low-key approach to the final 18 holes. He might prefer to be a bit more excited, but he knows himself too well to expect it.
"I wish I still got butterflies, that little buzzy type feeling that tells me I'm keyed up," Floyd said after matching Snead's 66 Saturday on the South course at Torrey Pines.
"I like that feeling, however you describe it. It's good for me. It means I'm very alert and focused. But after so many years, I rarely get it, except on certain holes or when I'm over a putt."
The feeling is not one of fear, he stressed.
"I'm not afraid on a golf course because I don't mind getting beat," he said. "I can accept defeat. To be worth anything in any profession, you have to know you won't go through it without failure. You lose twice as many golf tournaments as you win. Jack Nicklaus has more seconds than any man, and also more wins."
Snead, who won here in 1975 and 1976 but hasn't had a tour victory since 1981, was visited by a different sort of feeling Saturday.
"Winning again would be great," he said. "It would turn me around again. I'd like to win for my Pop (who died two weeks ago). Maybe he's watching."
Snead said his previous wins at Torrey Pines won't have any effect today.
"Everyone is shooting the lights out," he said, "so I'll probably have to shoot four or five-under to have a chance."
Although he will have to make up four shots on Snead and Floyd, there's a fellow named Watson who is pretty optimistic.
"I'm doing everything well enough to win if I putt well," Watson said.
Watson had dinner Friday night with Lee Trevino, who made him a plastic wrist brace to make his putting stroke smoother. Watson didn't use the brace, but tried to employ the theory of making his stroke "less handsy."