What was the issue with Hale Irwin? (Tour history)

 Hankshank ·  
HankshankHankshank  1905WRX Points: 393Members Posts: 1,905 Platinum Tees
Joined:  edited May 12, 2019 in Tour Talk #1

Don’t know why, but I found myself googling Hale Irwin, found his Wiki page and was surprised seeing how much he won on Seniors, and comparingly how few titles he had on the PGA. Was there something wrong when he was in his prime?

For Langer, the other player that has dominated the Seniors tour but didnt have 30+ victories on the PGA tour the answer is easy. Putting yips. Those costed him at least 10 big titles. Otherwise, his game was razor sharp. And then he found the broomstick and the rest is history.

Irwin is a little before my time. Ok, I played most of the 80’s but there wasnt any televised golf, more than an occasional major, in my home country. Articles, but mostly about the big names. I remember seeing his last victory at 49, after a long break, assuring that there is such a thing as muscle memory. But apart from a sloppy putt miss that costed him a BO in 84, i have no memory of him in his prime.

Looking at his winning record he absolutely ruled the Seniors tour, even more profoundly than Langer. But, albeit 3 US Opens, he had surprisingly few wins on the PGA tour. I remember him from the 80`s as something like a Furyk, OWGR top 10 guy maybe, but never one of the Big Three or the Big Five.
Why did he win so much more on the seniors? Did he have any issues with his game that he sorted out late in his career?

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  • MountainGoatMountainGoat Mid-Maryland 2495WRX Points: 1,103Members Posts: 2,495 Platinum Tees
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    His contemporaries who dominated the regular tour don't play the senior tour. I'm thinking of Norman, Faldo and Strange, but there are others, as well.

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  • rgk5rgk5 rgk5(OLB)  3778WRX Points: 377Handicap: 6Members Posts: 3,778 Titanium Tees
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    He was known as a constant complainer by his peers. He was probaly the greatest fairway player in history and always took a thin divot with those clubs.

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  • tideridertiderider  2822WRX Points: 1,856Handicap: 5ishMembers Posts: 2,822 Titanium Tees
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    yeah, i don't know how 20 wins = "few wins" ... 23rd highest total, by number ... 3 majors ... one of the oldest people to win a tour event at 49 ...
    i'd say he did very well for himself ...

    as for the sr tour, didn't play against his top competition from the regular tour, as mentioned ... but he was a very competitive player who maintained his body/health, so maybe that helped him a bit more than others ...

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  • Big Cat 3Big Cat 3  703WRX Points: 247Handicap: 4Members Posts: 703 Golden Tee
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    Hale Irwin and the great Dick Anderson of the Miami Dolphins were the starting safeties for Colorado in the mid 60’s.
    3 majors and 20 plus wins is a quite a tour career, he may have been understated because he was rather bland and blunt in play and personality ... always loved his quote about never drawing the ball “ I try to draw it and I just slice it more ... so I just keep slicing it”

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  • tannyhobantannyhoban  2098WRX Points: 383Members Posts: 2,098 Platinum Tees
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    His high five trot at the 1990 US Open was the best.

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  • HankshankHankshank  1905WRX Points: 393Members Posts: 1,905 Platinum Tees
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    Ok! Was he regarded as a Rory or a DJ in his hey days? Guess that was in the late 70`s.

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  • HankshankHankshank  1905WRX Points: 393Members Posts: 1,905 Platinum Tees
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    Having, as the European I am, only a rudimentary knowledge of American football, it surprises me that he was short from tee, hearing that he played college football. When I see an occasional match, I see guys that look like being able to hit the ball cross-atlantic.

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  • Darth PutterDarth Putter  5870WRX Points: 2,651Handicap: 10.8Members Posts: 5,870 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @Hankshank said:

    Having, as the European I am, only a rudimentary knowledge of American football, it surprises me that he was short from tee, hearing that he played college football. When I see an occasional match, I see guys that look like being able to hit the ball cross-atlantic.

    He played defensive back, those are among the smallest men out on the field.

    Hale Irwin is perhaps the best long iron player ever. As mentioned he was very straight off the tee, won the US Open three times, won at Harbour Town three times, won The Memorial twice and he also won at Butler National, Westchester and the Crosby. If it was a tough course, you'd see him near the top of the leaderboard.

    Another fun fact, with wins in the USA, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, the World Match Play at Wentworth and the Australian PGA he is one of just five golfers with wins on all six continents.

    Posted:
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    just say NO.... to practice swings
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  • cardoustiecardoustie haha, we don't play for 5's Tasmania to Canada 13320WRX Points: 2,191Handicap: 1.6Members Posts: 13,320 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @Darth Putter said:

    On -, @Hankshank said:

    Having, as the European I am, only a rudimentary knowledge of American football, it surprises me that he was short from tee, hearing that he played college football. When I see an occasional match, I see guys that look like being able to hit the ball cross-atlantic.

    He played defensive back, those are among the smallest men out on the field.

    Hale Irwin is perhaps the best long iron player ever. As mentioned he was very straight off the tee, won the US Open three times, won at Harbour Town three times, won The Memorial twice and he also won at Butler National, Westchester and the Crosby. If it was a tough course, you'd see him near the top of the leaderboard.

    Another fun fact, with wins in the USA, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, the World Match Play at Wentworth and the Australian PGA he is one of just five golfers with wins on all six continents.

    Long irons? Almost all historians will say Miller, Nicklaus and Hogan

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  • gvogelgvogel  8086WRX Points: 1,085Members Posts: 8,086 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @Obee said:

    Hale was one of the shorter players on tour. Was a 247 to 258 guy, if I remember correctly. Was usually near the bottom in driving distance. In fact, three of the best players from the 70's and early 80's were short/shortish hitters: Strange, Pavin, and Irwin. In 1980 (first year the stat was available), Irwin averaged 250.2, good for 138th on the tour in driving distance. He was 35(?) at the time. Strange was 98th that year.

    IF that isn't a great argument for rolling back the ball and the driver, I don't know what it.

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  • cardoustiecardoustie haha, we don't play for 5's Tasmania to Canada 13320WRX Points: 2,191Handicap: 1.6Members Posts: 13,320 Titanium Tees
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    Man his shot out of the rocks on 18 at Pebble broke a poor Canadian's heart

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  • Darth PutterDarth Putter  5870WRX Points: 2,651Handicap: 10.8Members Posts: 5,870 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @cardoustie said:

    Man his shot out of the rocks on 18 at Pebble broke a poor Canadian's heart

    Perhaps the best bounce I've ever seen in a pro tournament.

    The two iron out of the bunker at #16 in the playoff was incredible.

    Posted:
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    just say NO.... to practice swings
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  • BIG STUBIG STU  12556WRX Points: 3,170Handicap: 5.0Members Posts: 12,556 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @ExTrumpet said:

    On -, @Big Cat 3 said:

    Hale Irwin and the great **** Anderson of the Miami Dolphins were the starting safeties for Colorado in the mid 60’s.
    3 majors and 20 plus wins is a quite a tour career, he may have been understated because he was rather bland and blunt in play and personality ... always loved his quote about never drawing the ball “ I try to draw it and I just slice it more ... so I just keep slicing it”

    Lol at the censor police!!

    LOL yep these days on here he has to be refereed to as Richard Anderson just like there is now Richard's Sporting Goods or DSG as far as the censor police on WRX are concerned

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  • BIG STUBIG STU  12556WRX Points: 3,170Handicap: 5.0Members Posts: 12,556 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @Obee said:

    Hale was one of the shorter players on tour. Was a 247 to 258 guy, if I remember correctly. Was usually near the bottom in driving distance. In fact, three of the best players from the 70's and early 80's were short/shortish hitters: Strange, Pavin, and Irwin. In 1980 (first year the stat was available), Irwin averaged 250.2, good for 138th on the tour in driving distance. He was 35(?) at the time. Strange was 98th that year.

    Yep and all 3 of them were exceptional ball strikers too--- And Pavin was deadly with that old Bulls eye putter still is at times on the Champion's tour

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  • ShilgyShilgy Phoenix 12228WRX Points: 1,360Handicap: 3.2Members Posts: 12,228 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @tiderider said:

    yeah, i don't know how 20 wins = "few wins" ... 23rd highest total, by number ... 3 majors ... one of the oldest people to win a tour event at 49 ...
    i'd say he did very well for himself ...

    as for the sr tour, didn't play against his top competition from the regular tour, as mentioned ... but he was a very competitive player who maintained his body/health, so maybe that helped him a bit more than others ...

    He's 34th on the win list. Hmm, "by number" do you mean five guys tied counts as just one ahead of him??

    Posted:
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  • Big Cat 3Big Cat 3  703WRX Points: 247Handicap: 4Members Posts: 703 Golden Tee
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    On -, @cardoustie said:

    On -, @Darth Putter said:

    On -, @Hankshank said:

    Having, as the European I am, only a rudimentary knowledge of American football, it surprises me that he was short from tee, hearing that he played college football. When I see an occasional match, I see guys that look like being able to hit the ball cross-atlantic.

    He played defensive back, those are among the smallest men out on the field.

    Hale Irwin is perhaps the best long iron player ever. As mentioned he was very straight off the tee, won the US Open three times, won at Harbour Town three times, won The Memorial twice and he also won at Butler National, Westchester and the Crosby. If it was a tough course, you'd see him near the top of the leaderboard.

    Another fun fact, with wins in the USA, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, the World Match Play at Wentworth and the Australian PGA he is one of just five golfers with wins on all six continents.

    Long irons? Almost all historians will say Miller, Nicklaus and Hogan

    Irwin was tremendous with fairway woods

    Posted:
  • MountainGoatMountainGoat Mid-Maryland 2495WRX Points: 1,103Members Posts: 2,495 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @teejaywhy said:

    On -, @MountainGoat said:

    His contemporaries who dominated the regular tour don't play the senior tour. I'm thinking of Norman, Faldo and Strange, but there are others, as well.

    None of these guys are contemporaries of Irwin, he is ten years their senior. More like Nicklaus, Watson, Miller...
    Turned pro in 1968
    First win in 1971
    Third US Open in 1990 at age 45.
    Last Tour victory in 1994 at age 49.
    Pretty good career. The '90 open was memorable. A colleague and I used to make bets on the majors. I think we would pick 5 names to start and after the first round you could drop one and pick one up. I picked Irwin. We both had a laff on Friday but I was the only one laughing on Sunday.

    Who can forget his high-five victory lap after making 60' birdie to tie for the playoff:
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=ke1yRrJO6NI

    Point taken. He’s older than I remembered.

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  • lowheellowheel LOWHEEL  6734WRX Points: 1,738Members Posts: 6,734 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @Hankshank said:

    Don’t know why, but I found myself googling Hale Irwin, found his Wiki page and was surprised seeing how much he won on Seniors, and comparingly how few titles he had on the PGA. Was there something wrong when he was in his prime?

    For Langer, the other player that has dominated the Seniors tour but didnt have 30+ victories on the PGA tour the answer is easy. Putting yips. Those costed him at least 10 big titles. Otherwise, his game was razor sharp. And then he found the broomstick and the rest is history.

    Irwin is a little before my time. Ok, I played most of the 80’s but there wasnt any televised golf, more than an occasional major, in my home country. Articles, but mostly about the big names. I remember seeing his last victory at 49, after a long break, assuring that there is such a thing as muscle memory. But apart from a sloppy putt miss that costed him a BO in 84, i have no memory of him in his prime.

    Looking at his winning record he absolutely ruled the Seniors tour, even more profoundly than Langer. But, albeit 3 US Opens, he had surprisingly few wins on the PGA tour. I remember him from the 80`s as something like a Furyk, OWGR top 10 guy maybe, but never one of the Big Three or the Big Five.
    Why did he win so much more on the seniors? Did he have any issues with his game that he sorted out late in his career?

    Length of courses was a huge deal for him. He was a scrapper. A premier fairway wood player. Not very long so had to do it differently. He rededicated himself before turning 50 and it just clicked for him. Langer was a different animal.Had 320 starts on the big tour and only won 3 times. twice the masters. he had 25 top 5 finishes and 63 top 10s. His putting was an issue but i just dont think he liked the TPC style courses over here. Guy is a resilient warrior. As for Irwin i believe youre not putting into perspective how rare 20 wins is in this lifetime. thats good enough for 33rd all time not to mention where 3majors puts him.When a motivated hall of famer hits 50 and startsplaying shorter courses that put scoring clubsin his hands 75% of the time he will dominate that tour.Langer is doing exactly what Irwin did. Deeply dedicated and disciplined. Length still isnt an issue at 61. Champions tour is great for that reason alone. Dont forget irwin won at 49 i believe and Langer almost won in 07 or 08 when he lost a playoff at colonialwhen he was 48 or 49. they were playing well before moving to that tour

    Posted:
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