I compete to try to be the best in my division. I am a 52-yr-old Am grandmaster who's only been playing for 6 or 7 years, maybe 4+ seriously. Oh, how I wish I found this sport when my body was still very athletic!!! But I compete against the course and with myself -- not other players. I may measure myself (internally) against other players, but I compete for competition's sake itself.
I have improved to the point where recently I have begun to win some tournaments -- and must consider moving up; though I already and will even more so be competing with guys having 20-25+ years of experience on me once i do. And in my time in Am, I have often told the TD I'll catch up later (on the merch payout) -- or we'll square up on down the road. That's because I wasn't competing for the prizes, it was for the competition itself of the tournament setting, the tournament "pressure", the tournament courses, and the tournament situations/challenges, which simply aren't duplicated in local minis or causal play.