Len Mattiace feels a ‘re-birth’ on PGA Tour Champions
By Garry Smits
Posted Feb 28, 2018 at 4:12 PM
It’s a common feeling among PGA Tour players who qualify for the PGA Champions by turning 50 years old.
“I feel like this is a re-birth,” said two-time Tour winner Len Mattiace of Jacksonville, who will make his Champions debut on Friday in the Cologuard Classic at the Omni Tucscon National Golf Club. “I’m very excited. My ball-striking is in good shape, my short game is as sharp as ever ... I feel great.”
Mattiace knows it won’t be easy at the beginning. Despite having won twice on the Tour, status is harder to come by these days and he will be dependent at first on sponsor invitations (such as this week) or Tuesday qualifyings.
He also knows pars won’t cut it on the highly competitive senior circuit. Mattiace has been working with Todd Anderson at the PGA Tour Academy at the TPC Sawgrass.
“I’m in a mind-set where I know that I have to shoot in the 60s and do it consistently,” he said. “There are too many good players out here. You have to go low to contend.”
Mattiace has made his first Champions start a family affair. His 17-year-old daughter Noelle is caddying for him, and this is one of the Champions events where players and caddies don’t use carts.
“She’s doing great,” he said. “We haven’t talked money yet.”
Mattiace said his first start comes at a course he played nearly 10 times on the PGA Tour. He was in the final group on Sunday in 2000 when Jim Carter won.
“I have some good feelings on this course,” he said. “It’s a great place to start.”