The two top names on the Senior PGA Tour are absent, but a confident Orville Moody is back, eager to defend his Vintage Chrysler Invitational golf championship.
The 72-hole tournament will begin today at the 6,819-yard Mountain Course of the Vintage Country Club without the king, Arnold Palmer, or the clown prince, Chi Chi Rodriguez.
If Moody plays like he did last year, it won’t make any difference who else shows up. He held only a two-stroke lead over Al Geiberger with 12 holes to play. Then, in an impressive finish, he birdied nine of those holes, breaking the record for a senior tournament by finishing 25 shots under par. He won by 11 strokes, tying the record for the 50-and-over group.
Palmer is not here because he is in Florida, getting ready for his tournament on the regular PGA Tour next week at Bay Hill. Rodriguez had other plans.
Otherwise, the top contenders are here. Gene Littler, the winner last week at Naples, Fla., Bob Charles, Geiberger, Gary Player and Billy Casper are among the contenders. Harold Henning, second twice in a row, also figures to be a contender.