American Jerry Pate makes a rare appearance on the European Senior Tour in this week’s Cannes Mougins Masters after receiving an invitation from tournament host and defending champion Marc Farry during The Senior Open Championship.
The 1976 US Open Champion, who turned 58 last week, is an old friend of Farry’s and the pair played alongside each other at Walton Heath in July, when the Frenchman suggested that Pate should join the field for the second edition of the event.
Pate was one of eight players from The 1981 Ryder Cup who returned to host venue Walton Heath for The Senior Open Championship and he returns to European soil fresh from finishing tied 16th in Korea on the US Champions Tour last week.
Despite the change in time-zones, Pate is looking forward to spending a week on the glorious Côte d’Azur.
“Marc said to me at The Senior Open why not come to France to play as he knew I loved France and I said ‘I’d love to come’,” said Pate. “I was in Korea last week so I said I’d fly in to France and my wife can come over and we can all go together. We are all staying together and our wives are together.
“You can’t beat this place. I came here on a golf trip years ago and I just love Cannes and Nice and St Tropez. This is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
“Marc is the local host this week so the whole time you are with him his mobile phone is going off. I laughed because I know what that is like from playing in events in my hometown.”
Pate’s victory in the US Open at Atlanta Athletic Club 35 years ago came in his rookie year and he went on to win eight times on the US Champions Tour, while he has also won two times on the US Champions Tour since turning 50.
While his visit to France is a chance to take in the magnificent surroundings, he is also confident that he can compete against a strong field that includes former Ryder Cup Captains Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam, as well as Farry himself.
“My game is ok at the moment and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m playing well and I like this golf course. It’s a beautifully built golf course.”