Champions Golf Tour
CHAMPIONS - Senior PGA Championship Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, May 24th through Sunday, May 27th
SITE: The Golf Club at Harbor Shores, Benton Harbor, Michigan
COURSE ARCHITECT: Jack Nicklaus (2010)
PAR: 71
YARDAGE: 6,822
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 423 yds10 - Par 5 539 yds
2 - Par 3 174 yds11 - Par 3 144 yds
3 - Par 4 324 yds12 - Par 4 412 yds
4 - Par 3 209 yds13 - Par 3 197 yds
5 - Par 5 573 yds14 - Par 4 450 yds
6 - Par 4 417 yds15 - Par 5 549 yds
7 - Par 4 436 yds16 - Par 4 422 yds
8 - Par 4 384 yds17 - Par 3 171 yds
9 - Par 5 578 yds18 - Par 4 420 yds
--------------------------
36 3,518 yds35 3,304 yds
 
Annual:  73rd
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 12-3 p.m. (et),
  NBC - Saturday/Sunday -- 3-6 p.m. (et),
Defending Champion:  Tom Watson (Not defending)
Runner-Up:  David Eger
Tournament Record:  268 (Sam Snead, 1973)
54-Hole Record:  199 (Sam Snead, 1973)
36-Hole Record:  132 (Sam Snead, 1973; Arnold Palmer, 1984;
  Jack Nicklaus, 1991)
18-Hole Record:  63 (Buck White, 1961; Arnold Palmer, 1984 - PGA National, FL)
Total Purse:  $2,000,000
Shares:  1st Place - $360,000; 2nd Place - $216,000; 3rd Place - $136,000
 
2011 Finish
PlayerScorePlayerScore
Tom Watson *278Peter Senior281
David Eger278Nick Price282
Kiyoshi Murota279Steve Pate283
Hale Irwin280Corey Pavin283
Eduardo Romero281Loren Roberts283

* - Won in Playoff

 
Past Senior PGA Championship Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2011*Tom Watson (278) -- David Eger
2010*Tom Lehman (281) -- Fred Couples, David Frost
2009Michael Allen (274) -- Larry Mize
2008Jay Haas (287) -- Bernhard Langer
2007Denis Watson (279) -- Eduardo Romero
2006*Jay Haas (279) -- Brad Bryant
2005*Mike Reid (280) -- Jerry Pate, Dana Quigley
2004Hale Irwin (276) -- Jay Haas
2003John Jacobs (276) -- Bobby Wadkins
2002Fuzzy Zoeller (278) -- Hale Irwin, Bobby Wadkins
2001Tom Watson (274) -- Jim Thorpe
2000#Doug Tewell (201) -- Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Dana Quigley, Larry Nelson
1999Allen Doyle (274) -- Vicente Fernandez
1998Hale Irwin (275) -- Larry Nelson
1997Hale Irwin (274) -- Dale Douglass, Jack Nicklaus
1996Hale Irwin (280) -- Isao Aoki
1995Raymond Floyd (277) -- Lee Trevino, John Paul Cain, Larry Gilbert
1994Lee Trevino (279) -- Jim Colbert
1993*Tom Wargo (275) -- Bruce Crampton
1992Lee Trevino (278) -- Mike Hill
1991Jack Nicklaus (271) -- Bruce Crampton
1990Gary Player (281) -- Chi Chi Rodriguez
1989Larry Mowry (281) -- Miller Barber, Al Geiberger
1988Gary Player (284) -- Chi Chi Rodriguez
1987Chi Chi Rodriguez (282) -- Dale Douglass
1986Gary Player (281) -- Lee Elder
1985Not Held
1984Peter Thomson (286) -- Don January
1984Arnold Palmer (282) -- Don January
1983Not Held
1982Don January (288) -- Julius Boros
1981Miller Barber (281) -- Arnold Palmer
1980*Arnold Palmer (289) -- Paul Harney
1979Don January (270) -- George Bayer
1979*Jack Fleck (289) -- Bob Erickson, Bill Johnston
1978Joe Jimenez (286) -- Joe Cheves, Manuel de la Torre
1977Julius Boros (283) -- Fred Haas Jr
1976Pete Cooper (283) -- Fred Wampler
1975Charlie Sifford (280) -- Fred Wampler
1974Roberto De Vicenzo (273) -- Julius Boros, Art Wall
1973Sam Snead (268) -- Julius Boros
1972Sam Snead (286) -- Tommy Bolt, Julius Boros
1971Julius Boros (285) -- Tommy Bolt
1970Sam Snead (290) -- Fred Haas Jr
1969Tommy Bolt (278) -- Pete Fleming
1968Chandler Harper (279) -- Sam Snead
1967Sam Snead (279) -- Bob Hamilton
1966Fred Haas, Jr. (286) -- John Barnum, Dutch Harrison
1965Sam Snead (278) -- Joe Lopez Sr
1964Sam Snead (279) -- John Barnum
1963Herman Barron (272) -- John Barnum
1962Paul Runyan (278) -- Errie Ball, Dutch Harrison, Joe Brown
1961Paul Runyan (278) -- Jimmy Demaret
1960Dick Metz (284) -- Tony Longo, Paul Runyan
1959Willie Goggin (284) -- Leland Gibson, Paul Runyan, Denny Shute
1958Gene Sarazen (288) -- Charles Sheppard
1957*Al Watrous (210) -- Bob Stupple
1956Pete Burke (215) -- Ock Willoweit
1955Mortie Dutra (213) -- Mike Murra, Gene Sarazen, Denny Shute
1954Gene Sarazen (214) -- Perry Del Vecchio, Al Watrous
1953Harry Schwab (142) -- Charles McKenna, Gene Sarazen
1952Ernie Newnham (146) -- Al Watrous
1951*Al Watrous (142) -- Jock Hutchison
1950Al Watrous (142) -- Bill Jelliffe
1949Marshall Crichton (145) -- Louis Chiapetta, Jock Hutchison, George Smith
1948Charles McKenna (141) -- Ben Richter
1947Jock Hutchison (145) -- Ben Richter
1946Eddie Williams (146) -- Jock Hutchison
1945Eddie Williams (148) -- Jock Hutchison
1944Not Held due to World War II
1943Not Held due to World War II
1942Eddie Williams (138) -- Jock Hutchison
1941Jack Burke Sr (142) -- Eddie Williams
1940Otto Hackbarth (146) -- Jock Hutchison
1939Not Held
1938*Fred McLeod (154) -- Otto Hackbarth
1937Jock Hutchison (223) -- George Gordon

* - Won in Playoff

# - Rain shortened

Note:Formerly called PGA Seniors' Championship (1937-2000).

Top Contenders in the Field
Player2002200320042005200620072008200920102011
David Eger---T-17T-47---mcT-49T-16mcT-362nd
Kiyoshi Murota------------T-14T-33T-24T-28---3rd
Hale IrwinT-2mcWonT-46T-23T-42mcT-59T-654th
Peter Senior------------------------T-11T-5
Eduardo Romero------------T-312ndT-16T-14T-18T-5
Loren Roberts------------5thT-12T-49T-28T-15T-8
Steve Pate---------------------------T-8
Michael Allen---------------------WonT-11T-11
Olin Browne------------------------T-15T-13
John Cook------------------T-16T-17T-36T-13
Jeff Sluman------------------T-9T-5T-21T-18
Tom Lehman---------------------T-22WonT-22
David Frost------------------------T-2T-22
Kenny Perry---------------------------T-22
Dan Forsman---------------------T-9T-21T-27
Jay Haas------2ndmcWonT-9WonT-9T-23T-34
Mark McNulty------T-7T-6T-19------T-17---T-34
Fred Funk---------------------T-5T-23T-39
Mike Goodes---------------T-33T-34T-37T-15T-60
Mike Reid---------WonT-23mcT-67T-44T-34mc
Denis Watson---------------WonT-26mcmcmc
Fred Couples------------------------T-2---
Bernhard Langer------------------2ndT-17T-23---
Russ Cochran---------------------T-33T-23---
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Bernhard Langer
Darkhorse - Mike Goodes
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Michael Allen) - Finished tied for 4th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Bill Glasson) - Finished tied for 41st
 
NOTES:
The 73rd edition of the Senior PGA Championship -- the oldest event on the Champions Tour -- takes place this week, as the finest field of the over-50 tour takes shape. This is the first of five majors on the Champions Tour for 2012. Tom Watson will not be able to defend his title due to a wrist injury.

Eight of the top-nine players on the money list are in the field. Michael Allen currently leads the money list by nearly $340,000 over Bernhard Langer. He is the only player with two wins this season. Langer has yet to win this year, but has five top-five finishes. Corey Pavin, who is third on the money list, is playing at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial on the PGA Tour.

Hale Irwin has eight top-five finishes in 16 appearances, winning four times (1996-98, 2004). He is the all-time money leader with $1,609,220 in earnings and has recorded the most rounds in the 60s with 21.

This year's event is being held at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Jack Nicklaus designed the course, which opened in 2010. This tournament was held at Augusta National Golf Club for the first two years of its existence and had been held at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens from 1982-2000. This is the oldest major championship in senior golf, beginning in 1937 at the suggestion of Bobby Jones.

Last year, Watson birdied the first playoff hole to defeat David Eger and win. Watson fired rounds of 70-70-68-70 and finished with Eger at 10-under-par 278. It was the second time Watson won this championship, having previous captured the title in 2001. It was Watson's 14th victory on the senior circuit and his sixth major championship title on the Champions Tour. The 61-year-old Watson became the second-oldest winner of this championship. Jock Hutchinson was the oldest winner at 62 years old in 1947.

In 2010, Tom Lehman won with a routine par on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff over Fred Couples and David Frost. Couples and Frost both made double- bogey on the hole, an anti-climactic end to what was a close final round at Colorado Golf Club. The trio finished the tournament at seven-under-par 281. The win marked Lehman's first individual stroke-play victory in the United States since the 2000 Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour.

In 2009, Michael Allen won his Champions Tour debut by shooting a three-under 67 in the final round at Canterbury Golf Club. Allen was tied for 73rd following the first round after opening with a four-over 74. He finished with rounds of 66-67-67 for his first win in 11 years. Allen had made 267 professional starts since winning the 1998 Greater Austin Open on the Nationwide Tour. Allen had never won in 334 PGA Tour events prior to his win here. He became the 14th player to win his Champions Tour debut. With his win, Allen became the 23rd player to win this event in his first attempt and eighth since 1993.

Jay Haas survived four brutal days at Oak Hill Country Club in 2008, closing with a four-over 74 in the final round to hold off Bernhard Langer by a shot. It was the second time in three years that Haas won this major championship. There were just 12 rounds in the 60s posted through four days, and only one of them by the winner, as Haas opened with a 69 in the first round. Haas' seven- over-par 287 total was the highest winning score in tournament history, five shots more than Sam Snead's plus-two number in 1970. It was the second-highest winning score in any 72-hole Champions Tour event. Arnold Palmer won the 1981 U.S. Senior Open at Oakland Hills in a playoff after he, Bob Stone and Billy Casper finished 72 holes at nine-over-par 289.

In 2007, Zimbabwe's Denis Watson rallied to win by overtaking Eduardo Romero on the back nine of the final round at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course to claim his first victory of any kind in 23 years. It was his first win since 1984, when he claimed his only three titles on the PGA Tour. Watson finished at nine-under 279 for a two-shot win over Romero. He became the first player born outside the United States to win this event since South Africa's Gary Player in 1990 -- snapping the longest such active streak among major championships on the Champions, PGA and LPGA Tours.

Mike Reid eagled the 72nd hole in 2005 to get into a playoff, then birdied the first extra hole to beat Dana Quigley and Jerry Pate. Reid shot four straight rounds of 70 in winning his first Champions Tour event. He was the only player in the field to break par in all four rounds and was the first player since Miller Barber (1982 Suntree Classic, 66-66-66-66) to win after shooting the same score each day over 72 holes. Reid ended a victory drought of 16 years, nine months and two days.

At the 1997 PGA Seniors, Irwin set a Champions Tour record for the largest winning margin (12) in a 72-hole event, breaking the record of 11 strokes shared by Palmer and Orville Moody. Snead holds the record for the largest winning margin of 15 when he won this tournament in 1973, when it was not a Champions Tour event.

Irwin, Snead, Paul Runyan, Al Waltrous and Eddie Williams are the only players to successfully defend their titles. Irwin was the last player to accomplish this feat (1996-98). Snead was a six-time winner here and Irwin four. Player, Waltrous and Williams are three-time winners. Snead had 17 top-25, 15 top-10, 11 top-five and nine top-three finishes in his career at this event.

Chi Chi Rodriguez owns the record for the biggest come-from-behind victory in tournament history, when he came from six strokes down to win in 1987. There have been 14 playoffs. Seven of the last 10 winners have come from behind on the final day to win.

Next year's Senior PGA Championship will be held at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri. The Champions Tour moves to Iowa next week for the Principal Charity Classic, where Bob Gilder captured the 2011 title.

05/22 14:57:36 ET

As of May 22, 2012, at 02:57 PM ET