Tom Kite is not a man to be held down. In 1998, the 51-year-old golf pro had Lasik surgery to rid him of his need for spectacles. In 1999 he began taking Celebrex to ease the pain of his osteoarthritis. The surgery and the Celebrex seem to have worked: In 2000 (his rookie senior-circuit year), Kite collected nearly $1.2 million on the Senior PGA Tour, making him 11th overall on the year’s money list.

American Way: If you weren’t playing golf, what would you be doing?
Tom Kite: I have a tremendous amount of interest in architecture. Fortunately, right now, because of my golf, I’m able to put it into landscape architecture. I’ve got several courses going right now, Raleigh, North Carolina; New Jersey; Texas.

AW: What’s your favorite course to play?
TK: It would have to be Pebble Beach.

AW: Would you say your game is as sharp as it’s ever been?
TK: I wouldn’t say it’s as sharp as it’s ever been. Obviously I’ve passed my prime; there’s no question about it. I mean you don’t play at your prime when you’re 50 years old. But I’m playing well right now. The thing is, I had very poor years my last couple of years on the regular Tour and a lot of it had to do with enthusiasm. I wasn’t really excited about playing golf, and wasn’t enjoying it as much, and so I wasn’t spending as much time in practice. When the Senior Tour came along, all of a sudden I had something to get me excited about playing golf again. — J.E.M.