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Corey Pavin watches his tee shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the Buick Open at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club on June 26, 2008 in Grand Blanc, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) (Gregory Shamus/2008 Getty Images)
Corey Pavin watches his tee shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the Buick Open at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club on June 26, 2008 in Grand Blanc, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) (Gregory Shamus/2008 Getty Images)

Lorne Rubenstein

Making sense of the PGA Add to ...

Golf makes no sense sometimes, or to look at it another way, it makes all the sense in the world. The game allows a short hitter like Corey Pavin, who is 50, to compete with Bubba Watson, a 31-year-old who outdrives him by 100 yards and more on many holes. Yet Pavin ended up in a playoff with Watson Sunday at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn.

Watson won in the playoff, and Pavin, to be sure, was knocked out on the first extra hole of the sudden-death playoff. It started as a three-man showdown, and Watson and Scott Verplank birdied the first playoff hole to continue. Pavin dropped out when he couldn't match them. He made $528,000 for his second-place tie with Verplank.

Pavin's accomplishment was impressive. He's an old-school golfer who uses an Acushnet Bullseye flange putter putter that absolutely has to be hit in the middle of the face. There's no margin for error. So what does Pavin, the captain for the U.S. team in October's Ryder Cup, do but hole a twisting 30' birdie putt on the 17th hole of regulation play? He knew he needed to make the putt to have a chance of getting in the playoff.

Pavin is old-school in so many ways that he's almost new wave. That is, he plays the game in a way that's so old hardly anybody recognizes it as old. That makes it new. Pavin bops the ball down the fairways, curving it that way and that. He'll lay up on par-fours if need be and rely on his short game and putter to get the ball in the hole.

No wonder his nickname is Bulldog.

"This golf course just it doesn't favor any one style of play," Pavin said of the TPC River Highlands after the tournament ended. "Anybody can win on this golf course, and there's been a lot of different types of winners on this course with different lengths that they hit it."

At 50, and as such a short hitter, one would think Pavin has no chance against the bombers who dominate today's PGA Tour. Yet he plugs along.

He's the consummate shotmaker. If Watson is a bomb and gouge player, Pavin is a bunt and grind player. Well, maybe "bunt" isn't quite fair.

But then again, Watson was 150 yards past him on the 18th hole in regulation play. Pavin's drive was 240 yards and Watson's was 390 yards.

It's all good news for this week's new Champions Tour event in Montreal. The tournament is called the Montreal Championship, and it begins Friday July 2nd. Pavin is entered, along with elite seniors such as Fred Couples, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite and Jay Haas.

"Now it's just time to go back and play with adults my own age [this]week," Pavin said after his fine performance in the Travelers.

Here's something Pavin once said in answer to a question about how long he saw himself playing.

"Forever if I can. I enjoy playing and I don't see myself doing anything else. If it got to the point where my skills were diminished and I could not win on tour or felt I had no chance to win it would be difficult for me to continue."

Watson was his first PGA Tour event. Pavin has won 15, and he demonstrated he could win again. On the PGA Tour, that is. Meanwhile, he has to be coming into the Montreal Championship as one of the favourites to win there, on the Champions Tour.

"It would be torture if I was in a situation where I was going out and finishing 30th every week," he said. "I would hate that."

He needn't worry.

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