Bill Glasson hits off the 9th tee during the second round of the Constellation Senior Players Tournament at Fox Chapel Golf Club.
By Douglas Farmer Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When playing on the Champions Tour, it seems no injury is severe enough to cite as a reason for poor play. Quite simply, most of the tour is battling an ailment of some sort, golf-related or not.
"We're all hurting here," Bill Glasson said after his second-round 67 raised him to a tie for fourth place in the Constellation Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club. "We're old. If we were horses, they would have shot us a long time ago."
Yet if anybody on the tour has a history of injury worth noting, it is Glasson and his 25 surgeries, including back and neck fusions. Glasson was severely injured so many times, it forced him to consider putting away the golf clubs for good.
"I thought about taking permanent disability twice, but I still thought I could play a little bit," he said. "It's a challenge coming back from injuries. It's fun to see what you can do and can't do. I'm the kind of person who gets bored very easily, so if I didn't have anything wrong with me, I probably would have gone crazy."
Now more than two years removed from his most recent surgery, a removal of the rods and screws placed in his back, Glasson, 52, has figured out what he can and can't do once again. After most of the surgeries, including tendon reattachments in both elbows, he had to tinker with his swing, if not completely rebuild it.
"I only won seven times on the regular tour, but I think I won with seven different swings," he said. "That's something I'm more proud of than anything else. The fact that when I came back, I had to do it a whole different way."
With four top-10 finishes in 11 Champions Tour events this year, Glasson's neck, back, elbows and the rest of his body have rounded into form on the timetable his doctors expected.
"Usually my play is totally related to how I feel," he said. "They said at the two-year mark was when I would get better. That's when it would happen. I feel like when I am a little bit better, I'm alright, good enough."
With a course-record 8-under 62, Olin Browne leaped from 52nd place to a tie for eighth after the second round. Browne's mark tied the Fox Chapel course record and established a Senior Players record.
"I hit the ball pretty well [Friday]. I think I hit every green, and I missed just a couple of fairways," he said. "I got a couple of good bounces, you know. When I miss-hit a shot, it covered the bump and got up there close and I was able to take advantage of that."
Browne began the round 3 over, nine strokes behind first-round leader Bruce Vaughan. Admittedly, Browne wondered if he and Vaughan had played the same course. Now, players likely will wonder as much about Browne.
"If you come in and somebody beats you by nine shots, you go, 'Man, what course was he playing?' " Browne said. "I'm sure guys are going to come in here and say, 'What?' when they hear what I shot [Friday]."
Browne's bogey-free round, in which he made four birdies on the front nine and the back nine, tied William Miller's course record set in the 2006 Western Pennsylvania Amateur. It also broke the tournament record of 63, though the players to notch that feat -- Jim Colbert in 1995, Hubert Green in 2002 and Tom Kite in '03 -- did so on a par-72 course.
High of 96
None of the golfers complained about the scorching sun Friday in the second round. In fact, many of the field of 81 sounded downright grateful for the heat wave, featuring a heat index peaking at 105 degrees.
"I don't ever want to be cold again," Browne said. "I like being out here, sweating, drinking bottles of water all day long."
Add in an assortment of pains naturally found on the Champions Tour, and the 96-degree temperatures were even more welcome.
"I have good days and bad days," Glasson said. "The weather, hot is better than cold, obviously."
While the leaders relished the heat, the course showed the effects. Those with later tee times finished their rounds on fairways beginning to show hints of brown and baked greens playing much quicker than earlier.
"You can start to smell it," Tom Watson said after finishing his 3-under round around 3:30 p.m. "It's starting to cook the grass. It's starting to boil it."
Upgraded tickets to the "City of Champions" hospitality venue at the Senior Players Championship are available for purchase for the final round only. Sunday tickets to the "City of Champions hospitality" venue can be purchased online at www.cspgolf.com or at the admission gate at Fox Chapel Golf Club.