9 Past Golfing Greats Who Enjoyed Career Resurgences

Mike DudurichContributor IAugust 31, 2012

9 Past Golfing Greats Who Enjoyed Career Resurgences

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    There are many times no ways to explain it.

    Other times, it's a swing change, an equipment change or a procedure designed to fix an ailing body.

    But more often than not, a sudden resurgence in a golfer's career is a mysterious thing.

    Players who ordinarily struggled to be average or just above average suddenly find themselves in contention—and, in the case of moving from the PGA Tour to the Champions Tour, becoming a dominant player.

    Check out this list of names and see if there's a real good reason for the change.

Arnold Palmer Was King Anywhere He Played

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    Arnold Palmer took the world of golf by storm when he emerged on the PGA Tour in 1954 and, by the time he won for the last time in 1983, there was no doubt he was the king.

    And while it looked as though his competitive days were behind him at that point, he was the driving force behind the early success of the then-Senior Tour.

    Palmer won 10 times on that circuit and won $1.7 million, putting his stamp on what would become the Champions Tour a couple of decades later.

Open Championship Told the World Ernie Els Was Back

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    Ernie Els won U.S. Opens in 1994 and 1997 and won the Open Championship in 2002.

    The last three of those titles were won right in Tiger Woods’ wheelhouse and there was plenty of sentiment that the two might become THE rivalry in golf.

    But as he eased into his 40s, his game didn’t continue at the same high level.

    Els didn’t disappear totally but didn’t win another major until July when he took advantage of Adam Scott’s meltdown in the Open Championship.

    That victory was an exclamation point on his return to prominence that began a year or so ago and Els is now ranked 21st in the World Golf Rankings.

Michael Allen Has Persevered to Star on Champions Tour

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    In 369 career starts on the PGA Tour, Michael Allen managed three runner-up finishes.

    A journeyman who bounced from mini-tour to mini-tour, on and off the web.com tour and PGA Tour, he became so frustrated with the game that he gave up the game for a while.

    But when Allen joined the Champions Tour, he started beating a lot of the guys who regularly whacked him on the PGA Tour.

    He won the 2009 Senior PGA Championship and this year has won twice, finished second twice and third twice, and leads the Champions Tour money list and the season-long points race.

Bob Gilder Keeps on Winning on Champions Tour

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    Bob Gilder was a better than average player on the PGA Tour, winning six times and recording a pair of top-10 finishes in majors and one Ryder Cup team appearance.

    His last victory on the PGA Tour was in 1983. But the most memorable shot of his career was hit in 1982.

    In the third round of the Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic, Gilder hit a 3-wood from the middle of the fairway on the par-5, 18th hole that travelled 230 yards, landing softly on the green and rolled into the cup for a double eagle.

    Once he became eligible for the Champions Tour, he was better than ever.

    He won twice in 2001 and was the Champions Tour rookie of the year.

    Gilder has won 10 times on the Champions Tour.

O'Meara an Affable Champions Tour Competitor

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    Mark O’Meara won golf tournaments around the world, including 16 on the PGA Tour.

    The last of those came in 1998 and, boy, did O’Meara know how to end his productive time on the PGA Tour with flair.

    His last two wins were the Masters and the Open Championship.

    When he qualified for the Champions Tour nine years later, he became a dominant force.

    O’Meara has won twice and has been a runner up twice, winning over $5 million.

Loren Roberts Putted His Way to Prominence on Two Tours

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    Loren Roberts did not win a major during his time on the PGA Tour, but recorded a top-10 finish in each of the four major championships.

    He was an eight-time winner and gained the nickname “The Boss of the Moss” for his superior putting skills.

    His last win on the PGA Tour came in 2002 and he burst onto the Champions Tour scene in 2005.

    He won the Jeld-Wen Tradition in his third event, defeating Dana Quigley in a two-hole playoff.

    Roberts’ second season was even more impressive.

    He became the first golfer to open a Champions Tour season with three wins. Later that year, he won his second major in the Senior British Open.

    He’s won 13 times on the Champions Tour.

Bruce Fleisher Went from Nice Guy on PGA Tour to Dominator on Champions

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    Bruce Fleisher was hardly a roaring success during his days on the PGA.

    His only win came in the 1991 New England Classic.

    He played okay the next two seasons, but his game fell off in 1994 and he did little from then on until he joined the Champions Tour in 1999.

    He became the eighth player in Champions Tour history to win in his first start, going wire-to-wire in the Royal Caribbean Classic.

    That was just the beginning of an amazing resurgence that included 18 wins in six years and a win in the 2001 U.S. Senior Open.

    His 18 victories are the 12th-most in Champions Tour history.

Gil Morgan Went from Good on the PGA Tour to Great on the Champions

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    In 13 years on the PGA Tour, Gil Morgan won seven times. He wasn’t a flashy player, but was one of the most consistent top-five finishers of his time.

    His biggest win was the 1978 World Series of Golf.

    He’ll always be remembered as the first player to get to 10-under par during a U.S. Open.

    That happened in the 1992 Open at Pebble Beach.

    When he hit the Champions Tour in 1996, it was lights-out for his competition.

    He has racked up 25 Champions Tour wins, including three majors.

    His win total is third in Champions Tour history.

After Playing Around the World, Eduardo Romero Is a Star on the Champions Tour

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    Eduardo Romero had a limited PGA Tour career, finishing second in one event and earning just over $600,000.

    Most of his “prime time” golf was played on the Tour de las Americas and the European Tour.

    He won eight times on that tour and when he joined the Champions Tour in 2006, he hit the ground running.

    Romero played just nine events that year, but won once (the Jen-Weld Tradition) and earned nearly $1 million.

    He was rookie of the year in 2006 and won his second major, the U.S. Senior Open, in 2008.