40-Year-Old Golfers Who Still Have Plenty Left to Give on the Course
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Golf is a game that a lot of people play on a regular basis well into their 70s or 80s.
That's one of the best reasons to take up the sport. Many golfers will play the game throughout their lifetime.
But playing competitive golf on the pro tour is a completely different topic. For those who don't believe that golf is not a true sport, take a look at the money-winning list. Most of the top players are in their 20s and 30s.
Occasionally, top golfers can compete into their 40s, but they are the exceptional players and they are quite rare.
Here are six golfers age 40 and over who are still capable of playing competitively on the PGA tour and winning important tournaments.
Phil Mickelson can still get it done.
He remains productive on the pro tour and he remains consistently gutsy.
Mickelson, 42, had a typically solid season on the PGA tour in 2012. He won $4.2 million on the tour and he had one victory, two second-place finishes and also finished third. Mickelson finished in the top 10 in seven of the 22 events he played.
Mickelson remains a crowd favorite because he will go for it on 17 and 18 when he has a chance. He doesn't play it safe or take the shot that he knows he can make. He goes for the flag even when he knows that there's only a 10 percent chance he will make the shot and a 90 percent chance he will fail.
Mickelson's last major championship was the 2010 Masters. While he is no longer a favorite to win one of the majors, he still has the game that could put him in contention on the final day. His go-for-it mentality may just get him another one even though he is on the wrong side of 40.
The beautiful swing of Ernie Els is unmistakable.
The result are also sensational.
Els, 43, had one of the best seasons of his career in 2012, winning $3.8 million. He also came away with a major championship as he won the British Open by shooting 68 in each of the final two rounds of the tournament.
Els has the ability to rise to the occasion and play his best golf at the biggest moments. While he is not going to dominate the tour, he can call on his smooth swing and sharp putting stroke to allow him to walk with the game's young giants when the money is on the table.
Many golf fans will think of Jim Furyk's performance in the 2012 Ryder Cup when he lost a key singles match on Day Three and the United States blew its big lead to Europe as one of the key reasons for the U.S defeat.
They would not be wrong.
However, that matchup with Sergio Garcia in which he blew a 1-up lead going into the 17th hole does not define Furyk as a golfer.
Furyk, 42, is one of the better shotmakers on the tour. He's not a huge driver, but he excels around the greens and he will conceive of and execute tough shots when he is in contention to win a tournament.
Furyk did not win a tournament in 2012, but he did win $3.35 million and he recorded seven top-10 finishes in the 23 events he entered. He is still capable of contending on a consistent basis on the PGA tour.
Steve Stricker is one of Tiger Woods' best friends on the PGA tour. That friendship was one of the key reasons that Davis Love teamed Stricker and Woods in the Ryder Cup.
While that partnership proved disastrous for the United States, don't sell the 45-year-old Stricker short.
He is still an excellent golfer who won $3.4 million this season and also picked up a win in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January. Stricker is known for his outstanding short game and exceptional putting.
Those factors may not have been on display in the Ryder Cup, but Stricker still plays consistent golf on the tour.
Padraig Harrington has been one of the most successful Irish golfers who has crossed the Atlantic to play regularly on the PGA tour.
Harrington, 41, has won $21.6 million while playing on the tour and he is is an excellent shot maker and scorer. Harrington is not a big hitter, but he shapes his shots well and is one of the game's best strategists.
Harrington became one of the most respected golfers on the tour in 2008 when he won both the PGA and the British Open in the same golf season.
Golfers know he is still a competitor who can have an impact on an every-week basis.
Vijay Singh is the best "old" golfer on the tour.
Singh, 49, has won $67 million throughout his career, and he has maintained his competitiveness at an age when most pro golfers can't wait to get to the Champions Tour.
Singh is not content to merely go out and play with the younger players. He continues to work at his game. One of the primary reasons for his success is the amount of time he spends on the practice tee (source: BBC.co.uk).
British golf instructor Nick Bradley's said that Singh's rhythmic swing is the product of his effort.
"Vijay's swing contains more flow, rhythm and instinct that the whole European Tour put together," Bradley told BBC.co.uk.