Stewart Cink Has No Plans For Seniors Switch When He Turns 50 In 2023

Former Open champion says he's "borderline in denial" about turning 50 in May and will stick to the PGA Tour for now

stewart cink
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite turning 50 next year, Stewart Cink has no plans to make a switch to the seniors next year as he still feels he can mix it with the young guns on the PGA Tour.

The 49-year-old will hit the half-century mark next May, when he’ll be eligible to join the PGA Tour Champions, but for now he’s still focusing on playing the main PGA Tour.

Cink hit the PGA Tour in the late 1990s but despite being the world number 150 he’s shown he can still pick up tournament wins, having claimed his seventh on the PGA Tour at the Safeway Open in 2020 and then his eighth at the 2021 RBC Heritage.

The 2009 Open champion still feels he’s swinging the club as fast as ever and, although he says he will play a few events on the PGA Tour Champions, he’ll be sticking to the main PGA Tour mostly – especially with the big increase in prize money in 2023.

“I will probably sprinkle in a few events (On the PGA Tour Champions) but my plan is to focus on PGA Tour golf for a while, Cink said at the PNC Championship. “They keep elevating these events and making the prize even more rich, so sounds like a pretty good experience to me.

“I still have a lot left I think in my tank and I have a lot of years for Champions tour golf and so my plan is to sick stick to PGA Tour for a while and Champions tour will be there but I'm going to dip a toe in the water, too.”

Cink says he’s had advice off another former Major champion who has been an instant hit on the PGA Tour Champions, Padraig Harrington, to play as much PGA Tour golf as possible.

“Padraig Harrington encouraged me to continue playing on the PGA Tour for some reason. Maybe he thinks I've got some potential out there, I don't know. He wants me to stay out there, I don't know what to read into that. But hopefully if I do come out and play I get to play a lot with Padraig the next few years.”

Cink and Watson with the Claret Jug

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Harrington has played so well on the senior circuit that he believes he can get back into contending at the Majors in 2023, and both the Irishman and Cink point to the likes of Phil Mickelson becoming the oldest Major champion at 50 at the 2021 PGA Championship as motivation and encouragement.

Cink also has first-hand experience of how the old head in golf can challenge in Majors, as he became the pantomime villain in his sole Major triumph as he pipped a 59-year-old Tom Watson to the Claret Jug at Turnberry.

It’s another reason why Cink has no reason to be thinking of a full-time move into the senior ranks just yet, as for now he’d rather not think too much about the milestone birthday that’s approaching rapidly.

"I'm borderline in denial that my 50th birthday is near,” Cink told the PGA Tour website. "But I don’t turn 50 until May. I’ve got to figure out how to be the best player on the PGA Tour that I can until then and then after that, we'll see."

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Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.