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by Scott A. Sumner

    On a recent trip to the famed La Costa resort near San Diego,California I was looking forward to playing the recently renovated  and reopened Champions course. The Champions had been host to 37 PGA  Tour events over the years won by such famous golfers as Jack  Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.


   During breakfast a nicely dressed man in Calloway garb came up to  me and said, I have your clubs on the cart and am going over to the  range. Little had I known I would get to play that day with 50-year- old Steve Pate, winner of 6 PGA Tours events including at this very course,  and now a regular Champions Tour player. As an avid golfer and  someone who watches PGA Tour events regularly on TV and in person it  was going to be a fun day!

   I’m not a great warm up person before golf but watching Steve  Pate hit balls and practice putting to right before our tee time made  me realize I might have to start. He liked practicing Steve told me  and that day was tinkering with putters before going up to the Calloway facility some 10 minutes away from La Costa tomorrow.

    Just before we began play I saw a familiar face from TV walking  towards us- Deepak Chopra whose world headquarters is at La Costa.  This is where he holds many of his retreat events for people from all  over the world. Deepak was friendly and it was fun to get two famous  people in conversation and a picture!

   Our fore some started our game with Art, another golf writer form  Dallas and Ed of the PR firm based in Pebble Beach which handles La Costa. Our starter told  us it would be cart path only, words I don’t like to hear with a leg injury, but this  was going to be a good day anyway.

    Steve Pate played on the PGA Tour from 1988 to 1999 and won his  last event in 1998. Times have changed since then when his first win  gave him a winning purse of $72,000 and last win around $ 270,000.  “ The winner of the Valero Texas Open last week made more in prize  money than all my 6 wins combined " smiled Steve Pate who now  plays the Champions Tour on a regular basis and loves it. " I like the  3 day events with no cut" stated Steve Pate who has always looked at  the tee shot  as something you get out of the way until you go and have fun. Steve went to UCLA just up the road from La Costa for his college golf and is now partnered with Damian  Pascuzzo doing golf course design including the renovation of this  course, Champions and the second South Course on the property soon. Before  reaching the age of 50 Steve played many events and won on the  Nationwide Tour to keep his game sharp.

    After playing with Steve I remembered his nickname “ Volcano" because of his intensity on the course. Today Steve is  much more relaxed on the Champions Tour and still enjoys the 
competition. He lives in the area, as he has all his life, and it seems  to me his life has been a pretty good one. It will be fun to watch  Steve play a full schedule on the Champions Tour where he has received some pretty good cheques already!


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