Principal Charity Classic Champions Rookie Olin Browne Is Right 2009: Olin Brownes

Principal Charity Classic Champions rookie Olin Browne is right

Olin Browne’s first impressions of the Champions Tour “Chicago O’Hare Airport is a joke,” Browne said.
His 2:30 p.m. Chicago-to-Des Moines flight was canceled Tuesday. He spent hours looking for other options. There were none. And he had to get to West Des Moines for an 8:10 tee time in Wednesday’s Principal Charity Classic pro-am. Miss it and he would have lost his spot in the tournament. And Browne, who turned 50 years old a week ago Friday, didn’t want to miss his Champions Tour debut. “I had to rent a car and drive in the middle of the night in hurricane conditions,” Browne said. “Other than that it was cool.” Browne’s drive took him past Iowa City on Interstate 80. The great memories came pouring down, just like the rain on his windshield. “Go, Hawkeyes,” Browne had told the fans at the University of Iowa’s Finkbine golf course after winning the Ben Hogan Hawkeye Open in July 1991. It was his second victory of the season on what has become the Nationwide Tour. The PGA Tour had been elusive to Browne at that point in his career. He had tried to qualify seven times. He was zero for seven. The top five money winners on the Hogan Tour in 1991 got their PGA Tour cards the following season. The $25,000 check Browne won, after rounds of 67-65-67, was the final push to that exemption. Three PGA Tour wins and better than $8 million in earnings later, Browne is a rookie again. “Jim Thorpe has already been riding me a little bit,” Browne said. Browne could have played in this week’s Colonial Invitational on the PGA Tour. That was the site of one of his victories, in 1999. He wrestled long and hard before picking West Des Moines over Fort Worth. “I’m not getting any younger,” Browne said. “This needs to be home for a while. I need to support this tour. This is where I belong.” One challenge this week is finding his way around. “I don’t know where to go or how to get there, but it takes just one phone call,” he said. Michael Allen won the Senior PGA Championship last week in his first Champions Tour event. First-timer Tom Lehman paired with Bernhard Langer to win the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. Browne is in position to make it No. 3. “I’m not popping off about any of that stuff,” Browne said. “I’m happy to be here. My playing record the last couple of years has not been all that great. I’m looking forward to playing the very best I can play and see what happens.” Asked if he’d played in Iowa since his 1991 victory, Browne nodded. “The John Deere Classic,” he said of the Quad Cities event. But it is played on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. The Principal Charity Classic will be Browne’s first Iowa event since winning in 1991. “I like that thought you’re putting in my head,” Browne said. CHRISTOPHER GANNON/The Register
Champions Tour rookie Olin Browne, center, helps amateur Rod Cheney (in red) line up his putt on the second green at the Principal Charity Classic CIBER pro-am Thursday at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines.

Event Date and Time:
Starts at: