MY GOLF GAME WITH A 6 TIME PGA TOUR WINNER- STEVE PATE
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!