Pernice still up to the challenge of the PGA Tour

Tom Pernice Jr.

Tom Pernice Jr.

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Tom Pernice Jr. isn’t ready to turn his badge in just yet. The Tour vet affectionately called “Tom Police,” turned 50 in September 2009 but isn’t rushing to become the new sheriff in town on the Champions Tour. 

“I saw (commissioner) Tim Finchem at Davis Love’s party. He said, ‘What are you doing here? Why aren’t you at The (Senior) Players?’ I said, ‘Well, I’m trying to get my card out here.’ ”

Pernice shot a pretty 5-under 65 to climb into contention at the McGladrey Classic (T-9, four shots back) and improve his chances of earning his playing privileges for another season. He ranks No. 142 on the Tour money list.

“That’s been my goal from the get-go,” Pernice said.

Pernice – who missed earning a Tour card by one shot at PGA Tour Q-School in 2009 when he double bogeyed the final hole – has made it into 20 Tour events out of the No. 126-150 playing category. He also has entered eight Champions Tour events.

Pernice has only teed it up against the round bellies when he couldn’t get a spot in a PGA Tour field. He passed on all five of the Champions Tour majors. He skipped this week’s Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship just as earlier in the year he opted out of the U.S. Senior Open in favor of the Greenbrier Classic, and chose the RBC Canadian Open rather than sticking around to play the Senior British Open at Carnoustie. 

“I still think I can compete against the best in the world,” Pernice said.

Whereas most 50-year-olds are chomping at the bit to make hay in the no-cut world that is the Champions Tour, Pernice said he still wants to grind out Friday cuts – for now.

“When I feel it’s time, then I’ll go,” Pernice said. “As of now, I’m not ready to go yet.”

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