Corey Pavin has done plenty in a remarkable career. He’s won a U.S. Open and captained a Ryder Cup. And despite being one of the shortest drivers in golf, he’s remained competitive even now on the Champions Tour.
Last year was his first appearance at the Champions Tour’s Shaw Charity Classic in Calgary after missing the first tournament because of his daughter heading to school. He’ll be back next month at Canyon Meadows and talked to Global News about his career and how to win tournaments without hitting the ball a long way.
Q: What was your impression of Calgary?
Pavin: I think I drove through the area once in the middle of the night in college, but that’s the only time I’d been there before last year. Something came up the first year and I didn’t get there, but I did get there last year and I enjoyed the tournament a lot. The golf course is excellent and all I heard about from the guys the first year was about the people, and the city, and how nice it was. They were correct. It was a great week. The people were gracious and welcoming.
Q: What was your impression of the course?
Pavin: It is a really beautiful layout. I don’t know who designed it, but they did a good job. There are hard holes and ones you can get at. The last hole is a great, exciting finish. It is really terrific. I thought it was a good test of your game. You needed to drive the ball straight and the greens have some good slope. You need to pay attention out there.
Q: At this point in your career, how do you pick when and where you play?
Pavin: There’s always a few factors. The No. 1 is the course. If it is a course I like, I’ll do everything I can to get back there. And what kind of reception do you get? In Calgary it was fantastic. I also look at what’s going on at home, as I have a young daughter. The reason I didn’t play the first year, I think, was because of school. There are certain factors you have to weigh.
Q: You’ve never been one of the longest hitters in golf—and legendarily hit a 4-wood into the final hole to win the 1995 U.S. Open. How do you remain competitive with the bombers in golf?
Pavin: Length is always a good thing. If you don’t have it you need to find other ways to be competitive. That’s what I’ve done. Everything else being equal, if you’re long and straight you’ll have an advantage. If I’m trying to make a decision between one tournament and another, I’ll pick the one where I can be more competitive. You just have to find a way as a guy who isn’t long. You have to find a way to compete with guys who hit it a long way. Guys who are smart and relatively long are always going to be tough to beat. Look at Tiger—when he first came out he was long with a great short game. When I play my best golf, it almost doesn’t matter what course I play on. I can be competitive. If it is a long, hard course, it is a little more difficult, but I can be there in the end. I’ve actually gained a bit of distance this year. I’ve had a serious workout routine and I’ve hit the ball further.
Q: What’s the state of your game?
Pavin: I’d be enjoying it more if I played a little bit better. It has been a little frustrating. I haven’t been putting as well as I’d like. I have to be patient with that. I’ve been hitting the ball much better this year, but I need to get my putting in shape and stay away from making mistakes. If I do that, I think I’ll have a shot at winning tournaments.