Former PGA champion Nick Price received the Distinguished Sportsman award on Thursday night at Colonial Country Club. There are few athletes who project kindness, decency and professionalism as much as Price. He never took anything for granted.
The native of Zimbabwe, who lives in Jupiter, Fla., seems to appreciate his status today as much as he did when he was one of the PGA’s best in the ’90s.
You may not have liked what he had to say about Colonial inviting Annika Sorenstam to play in 2003 — he called it a publicity stunt and said she should have had to qualify — but the man was what you wanted in a “sports hero,” if such a thing exists.
Price, 57, has no problem accepting why his career changed after he won Colonial in 2002 — “the equipment left me behind” — and realizes the demands on the players today are not what they were when he played.
“There was a lot of media and autographs and things of that sort to do when I played, and players of my era didn’t play as much as we would have liked as the previous generation,” Price said. “Now there is so much more media, and Twitter, and the players today have to do so much more than we did.”
He had to take off about 14 months after surgery on his elbow, but he is back playing and enjoying himself. He fishes, hunts and plays golf with his friends. It’s the kind of golf where he doesn’t keep score, and doesn’t mind if he or his buddies need a mulligan, or two, or three.
Thursday was his first visit to Fort Worth since 2004. Having won Colonial twice (he also won the tournament in 1994), it will forever remain a special place to him.
And given his warm reception by the 150 in attendance, it is easy to see why Nick Price is special to so many.