Kohler, Wis. - Judd Silverman's view of championship golf is a bit different this week. It used be from behind Craig Stadler's bag. Four years ago it was from an office as e director of the Senior Open at Inverness.
This week, though, it is from the best angle yet - as a competitor.
"I've won this week," Silverman told reporters Wednesday. "Whatever happens from here on out is just icing on the cake."
The 51 year old from Toledo has played a couple of practice rounds with his former boss, Stadler, this week. "You know, it's a little intimidating, because he is so strong, he hits it so far," said Silverman.
Silverman served as Stadler's caddie during the 1970s and '80s. He was on the bag during the 1982 season when "The Walrus" won the World Series of Golf and led the PGA Tour money list.
Another friend joined Silverman, too, as he walked the grounds in preparation for this week. That would be NBC's Gary Koch. Both Koch and Stadler advised him to play his game this week and not to be someone he is not.
"I owe a lot to Gary and Craig," said Silverman. "They're such great role models on and off the golf course. I have such respect for them."
Focusing on his game will be tough this week, considering the week after this one. His next obligation is the LPGA Jamie Farr Classic, a tournament he has directed since its inception 23 years ago. Silverman has stay involved but added he's gotten away to work on his short game and to hit balls to stay sharp.
He won't use his responsibilities to the Jamie Farr Classic as an excuse this week if he doesn't play well. Nor will he allow the fact that he hasn't played in a national championship since the 1975 U.S. Amateur as a reason for poor performance, if it should come to that point.
"I'm a competitor and I want to play my best, so I won't have a problem getting fired up," he said.
"Hopefully, we can control our nerves and put the ball in play, hit some greens, make a bunch of pars, and put a decent number on the board."
Regardless of the final result, competing with and against old friends has offered Silverman an opportunity he will never forget.
"All I can say is golf is the only game that at 51 years old you can be sitting on your couch dreaming about playing with the greatest players in the game and have opportunity to go qualify and actually do it," said Silverman smiling. "So it's just a dream come true."