Hunter Mahan never imagined making his Tour debut at this stage in his career.

He has been a pro for 14 years, with two World Golf Championships among his six PGA Tour victories, seven appearances in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, and just short of $30 million in career earnings.

Mahan sees this more as an opportunity than a demotion.

“The best thing for my game is to play tournaments and put to the test my skills in tournament golf,” Mahan said after his pro-am round at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Columbus, Ohio. “This is where I can play, so it’s the perfect opportunity to work on my game. I feel like I’m making strides, and I want to continue to push myself. Right now, it feels good. I feel like I’m building on something, and I haven’t felt that in a long time.”

The tournament starts Thursday on the Scarlett Course at Ohio State University. It is the first of four tournaments in the Tour Finals that offer PGA Tour cards to 25 players who make the most money from these events.

The tournaments are for players who finished in the top 75 on the Tour and from Nos. 126 through 200 in FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour. The top 25 from the Web’s money list already are assured of PGA Tour cards and are playing for higher status.

Mahan is not the only PGA Tour winner in Ohio.

Ben Crane, Matt Jones and Johnson Wagner also are at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. Also in the field is Roberto Castro, who last year played in the Tour Championship at East Lake.

Mahan played in the Ryder Cup three years ago in Scotland, but it wasn’t long before he began to juggle life on the road with a growing family at home. He has three children ages 4, 2 and 1. He failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time last year, and then he began work with Dallas-based swing coach Chris Connell at the end of last year.

This is a rebuilding process for Mahan, and he is…