IAN BAKER-FINCH will be hoping for a new lease on his golfing life after celebrating his 50th birthday on Sunday.
The former British Open winner is now officially a senior golfer and will have his first outing next month at the Handa Australian Senior Open
which forms part of the Australian E-Z-GO PGA Legends Tour.
Making his debut on the global stage at Royal Perth Golf Club on 19 November 2010, Baker-Finch is feeling positive about his return to professional competitive golf after spending the last 15 years focusing on a career in commentating and golf course design.
“I’m really looking forward to coming back to Perth and playing Royal Perth Golf Club, where incidentally I won the WA Open in 1984,” Baker-Finch said of the milestone.
“All the guys that played the 2009 tournament raved about the quality of golf course, so I’m really looking forward to getting back there and playing it again after 16 years!”
Although relishing the opportunity to debut at the Handa Australian Senior Open, Baker-Finch is wary of the other players in the field who still make a living playing full time on the senior circuits around the world.
“It’s crazy to think I could play as well as guys like Peter Senior, Mike Harwood or Ian Woosnam who still play golf full time; but I definitely want to be competitive and will be going out there to win.”
Baker-Finch admitted to previously feeling like he still had something to prove and playing again as a ‘senior’ would allow him to end his playing career on his terms.
However, with the prospect of competition now upon him, he conceded he no longer felt like that and was just looking forward to spending time with old friends and having a good time.
Baker-Finch also indicated his intentions during the twilight years of his career. “I will continue to be an announcer 25 weeks of the year and work on my golf course design but will try to play half a dozen senior tournaments as well for the next few years.”
Baker-Finch will be joined by a cast of Australian legends including Wayne Grady, Peter Senior and local favourite Terry Gale, as well as a long list of European household names who join the field after a 3-year co-sanctioning deal with the European Senior Tour which was announced earlier this year.
Also looking forward to visiting Western Australia is Major Winner and ISPS Ambassador Ian Woosnam who last played in Perth at the 2002 Johnnie Walker Classic hosted by Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
“I have really fond memories of Perth and have always played reasonably well there so I’m looking forward to it experiencing some warm weather and getting my golf back into some form,” said Woosnam.
The Handa Australian Senior Open will be played at Royal Perth Golf Club from 19-21 November 2010.
This is the second year the tournament will be hosted by Royal Perth Golf Club after an exciting finish to the 2009 event that went down to the wire in a sudden death 3 way play-off between eventual winner Mike Harwood, Michael Clayton and Peter Senior. Harwood will return to defend his title in November.
Entry to event is by gold coin donation with all proceeds going to support Blind Golf in Western Australia.