Dave Stockton is running a marathon and he's carrying his golf clubs. Stockton is in the midst of playing the last 11 Senior PGA Tour events of the year, including the $800,000 Ralphs Senior Classic that begins today at Wilshire Country Club.
Stockton's reason for playing nearly three months' worth of tournaments is pretty basic--it's the money.
Stockton has won $1,197,680 in 30 events this year and is first on the earnings list. And it's a familiar position. He won the senior tour money title in 1993 and 1994, which means he can become the first to win it three years in succession.
"It would be awesome to do that," Stockton said.
Stockton, who has won twice this year and 11 times in not quite five years on the tour, is getting a run for his money.
Seven of the top 10 money winners will play at Wilshire, including No. 3 Bob Murphy, $1.1 million; No. 4 Jim Colbert, $1.09 million, and No. 6 J.C. Snead, $955,000.
Raymond Floyd, who is less than $80,000 behind Stockton in second place, withdrew from the Ralphs, but Stockton knows he still has a formidable assignment.
"To win the money title, I know I've got to win one more tournament," Stockton said. "I want to win this thing, and I want to win it when the other guys are playing their best golf. This is shaping up to be a battle royal."
Jack Kiefer is the defending champion. Kiefer won by one shot over Dale Douglass last year at Rancho Park. Douglass closed with a 61.
Hale Irwin, Tony Jacklin, Gary Player, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Jim Albus, Graham Marsh, George Archer, Jay Sigel and Tom Wargo are among the entrants.
At this stage of his 11-tournament stretch, Stockton said, he hopes his putting holds up.
"My eyes aren't as good as they used to be, but if you hit it close, you don't have to see too far," he said.
There is no public parking at Wilshire. Parking is available for $5 at Pan Pacific Park, five blocks west of La Brea on Beverly Boulevard. Shuttle buses from the remote parking will be provided. . . . The winner's share of the $800,000 purse is $120,000. . . . Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Centinela Hospital Children's Charity Fund.
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Tournament at a Glance
* Event: Ralphs Senior Classic
* Site: Wilshire Country Club
(6,295 yards, par 71)
* Dates: Today through Sunday
* Purse: $800,000
* Winner's Share: $120,000
* Television: Channel 2
(Saturday, 3-5 p.m.,
Sunday 4-6 p.m., delayed)