Advanced age will have diminished somewhat the power, distance and perhaps skills, but not so the outlook of former touring golf professional and Member of Parliament Kim Swan, as he about to take to the links at Port Royal Golf Course today in the PGA Butterfield Championship.
It will mark the second time Swan has made an appearance at a top tier PGA event, having previously taken part in the USF&G Classic in New Orleans, Louisiana, missing the cut after two rounds.
Swan plied most of his golfing trade on the European Tour, where he competed in some 30 events, as well as taking part in competitions among the lesser considered Canadian Tour, but this one holds special appeal, happening mere weeks after the golfer’s 65th birthday in the backyard of his birthplace at the west end.
“Having grown up here in Bermuda, playing where I’ve won three Bermuda Opens at this moment now,” began Swan. “Even though I’m much older than when I was a ‘young buck’, winning those Bermuda Opens, it’s an honour to be able to represent those people whose shoulders I stood on to get to where I managed to get.
“It’s been a great journey for me. I’ve spent all summer in the UK, where I plied my trade, working hard on my game, reconnecting with many people I played professional golf with 40 years ago and I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to represent those hat are a little bit older and show them that, no matter how old we are, we can get fitter, we can get stronger, and we can still strive for excellence.
Despite the many years of experience competing, Swan was anxious about today’s start, but noted that it was a healthy feeling of anticipation, which he hopes would spur him toward success.
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “It’s nice to feel apprehensive, as that causes you to work hard and focus harder.
“But this is not unfamiliar territory, although I’m certainly under more microscopic pressure, as people might look at me and wonder, ‘What’s he doing out there at 65?’
“But I’m here to tell them that I’m born of 1957 and that was a good year for great golfers being born. The Bermuda Open champion of 1978 was born in 1957, so was (Seve) Ballesteros, so was Bernhard Langer, so were many others. I represent that generation of golfer, that no matter what our birth certificate says about your age, it’s up to you to make the best out of your life.”
Swan is set to tee off this afternoon (1:37 pm), with Englishman Ben Taylor and Trevor Werbylo of the United States.
Other Bermudian professionals taking part along with Swan include Michael Sims (1:48 tee time) and Nick Jones (9:19), while there is also a spot occupied by amateur Jarryd Dillas (9:25).
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