It’s been 11-years since Stewart Cink represented the US in a fifth straight Ryder Cup and now after a second PGA Tour victory of the 2020/21 wraparound season, the in-form 47-year old has played down thoughts of being on Steve Stricker’s Whistling Straits side.
After a pair of opening 63s, Cink was never really challenged in capturing a third RBC Heritage title and the 15th win of his PGA Tour career. With son Reagan on the bag, Cink went into the last day leading by five and won by four with a closing day one-under par 70 for a 19-under par victory tally on the Harbour Town course where he had previously won in 2000 and 2004.
Cink’s age, a month shy of turning 48, generated a golf bag full of new PGA Tour statistics not normally seen at the close of a PGA tournament, including:
- Wins 21 years, 2 days after his 2000 RBC Heritage title and 16 years, 11 months, 30 days after winning in 2004
- Becomes the third player with three or more victories at the RBC Heritage (Davis Love III/5, Hale Irwin/3)
- Becomes the second-oldest winner of the RBC Heritage (Hale Irwin/1994/48-10-14)
- Becomes the fourth player (fifth instance) age 47 or older to win multiple times in a season on TOUR since 1960, joining Sam Snead, Julius Boros and Kenny Perry (twice; most recently in 2009)
- Becomes the seventh player to go 21 years or longer between his first and most recent victory at the same event on TOUR (1st RBC Heritage victory was on April 16th, 2000)
- Becomes the 10th different player to win on TOUR after making 600+ starts in official events (Mark Calcavecchia achieved the feat twice)
But what the PGA stats didn’t reveal was his updated standing on the 2021 USA Ryder Cup team. Cink has the experience of five straight Ryder Cup appearances from 2002 to 2010 but was a member of just one winning side in 2008 while he’s also played in four winning Presidents Cup teams.
However, in moving up 12 spots to 24th on the updated USA Ryder Cup team points table, Cink was asked his thoughts of teeing-up in Stricker’s side: “Not really. It wasn’t until a few people yelled out ‘Ryder Cup’, ‘see you at Whistling Straits’ or something like that when we came back over here from the 18th hole,” he said
“Really the first thing on my mind after finishing out on 18 and knowing that the win was secured was that part of this whole game plan thing is that we’re trying to take the energy to make decisions off of the moment and putting it the night before so that we can have our decisions already made.
“At 47, I just don’t have this endless supply of energy, and I need to kind of keep my decision-making to a minimum. As it turns out, I think that having two wins in between the U.S. Opens, maybe I might be exempt for the U.S. Open now, I’m not really sure, but I’m hoping that I can get out of that 36-hole qualifier.
“That’s where I’m going with this whole energy thing. I would love to not have to play in that and save myself a little bit of scheduling and also energy output for that Monday. I don’t know, I’m not sure about that, but that’s one of the — hopefully the benefits of winning.”
One of the immediate benefits of Cink’s win is that he is back inside the top-50 on the World Rankings for a first time since December 2010, rising from No.115 to 44th in the world.
To listen to our Heritage recap podcast, and to hear from Leona Maguire after her best ever LPGA Tour finish, just follow the link below.