Nick Price, defending Principal Charity Classic champ, still enjoying golf

The 54-year old Nice Price never thought he would still be playing golf for a living after two decades.

However, Price is set to defend his Principal Charity Classic title at Glen Oaks in West Des Moines on June 3 to 5.

“When I was 34, if you would have told me that in 20 years I was going to be having as much fun playing golf as I am now, I would have laughed in your face,’’ Price said during a stop in West Des Moines Monday. “I would have said, “No way. I’ll be retired, fishing and doing whatever.’ But I’m still having a great time.’’

Price has won a major championship three times and has held the World Golf Rankings top spot in the early6 1990s for 44 weeks. He is back at the top with a No. 3 spot in the Champions Tour money list with better than $500,000.

He has won the PGA Tour 18 times including the PGA Championships in 1992 and 1994 and the British Open in 1994. The four Champions Tour victories of Price include the Principal Charity Classis last season.

Price has an average of 67.4 strokes at the Glen Oaks nine competitive rounds. In three appearances, Price has 13 bogeys, 41 birdies and two eagles.

“It’s just one of those courses that I feel confident on,’’ Price said.

But that was not always the case before his comeback.

“I hit such an awful time,’’ Price said. “Golf was hard. I enjoyed playing and trying to get better. But it was like beating your head against a brick wall. I’d get up in the morning and say, “It’s going to get better today.’ Then I’d go to bed and say, “Geez, when am I going to turn this thing around?’ ’’

Price had always been a proud champion so he did not want to leave the game when his game was down.

“I said to my wife, “I want to play like I know I can play,’ ’’ Price said. “I didn’t want to retire playing the way I was.’’

With small steps at a time, Price made his way back.

“When you see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, you just start chasing it,’’ Price said. “I’m so glad I got my game back.’’

Price was in Iowa Monday, determined to defend his title.

“You guys put on such a good tournament here,’’ Price said. “Ask any guy on tour. They love coming here. Because it’s such a great golf course, and we’re so well received.’’