There were plenty of storylines leading up to the first event of the 2011 Champions Tour season. There was the defending champ, Tom Watson, still competing at a high level at the age of 61. Last year's runner-up, Fred Couples, is still creating a major buzz in Year Two on the Champions Tour. Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion, Bernhard Langer, is playing like he did 20 years ago. But it was none other than John Cook who stole the headlines on Sunday:
Such is life on the Champions Tour, though; most of these players have won at a high level at some point in their careers, and that experience makes each and every one of them a threat to win on any given Sunday.
Cook may not be well-known among the casual golf fans, but those who have followed the game over the past 20 years know how much talent he has. Cook won 11 times on the PGA Tour, and his victory on Sunday was his sixth since joining the Champions Tour late in 2007.
The Champions has been a hospitable locale for Cook. Since joining the Champions Tour full time in 2008, he's been a regular at the top of the Schwab Cup points list. He finished fifth in 2008, runner-up in 2009, and third in 2010.
While many, including myself, figured Fred Couples as the player to make the opening statement on the 2011 season, John Cook fired the first shot. It's a signal that the race for the Cup will include more than two players this season.