Senior major golf championships

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Men's professional senior golf is for players aged 50 and above. Golf differs from all other sports in having lucrative competitions for this age group. The leading senior tour is the U.S. based Champions Tour, which was established in 1980 (as the Senior PGA Tour). It has established a roster of five major championships. These events are all played over four rounds, whereas other senior tournaments are generally played over three rounds—only one other current Champions Tour event, the limited-field and season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, is played over four rounds. A golfer's performances can be quite variable from one round to the next, so playing an extra round increases the likelihood that the senior majors will be won by leading players.

In the current order of play, the senior majors are:

The Senior PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open, and Senior Open Championship, have fields of 144 to 156 players and a 36-hole cut. The Tradition and Senior Players Championship have 81 player fields and no 36-hole cut.

The order of play has changed many times during the history of senior golf, especially since 2006:

  • In 2006 the U.S. Senior Open, Senior Players Championship, and Senior British Open were held in July and were consecutive on the schedule. There was no event in the week after the Senior Players, allowing golfers adequate time to travel to the United Kingdom and acclimatise for the Senior British Open two weeks later. This gave the Champions Tour a very clear peak period, which is not found on most other tours, including the PGA Tour. The Tradition was the last major on the schedule.
  • In 2007 the Senior Players Championship moved to October, two months after The Tradition, to spread the majors over a longer period of time.
  • In 2008, the U.S. Senior Open moved to the week after the Senior British Open. This once again gave the Champions Tour a clear peak period, with no tournament held between the U.S. Senior Open and The Tradition (a one-week break in 2008, two weeks in 2009). In 2010, there was a regular tournament in the week after the U.S. Senior Open, followed by a one-week break before The Tradition.
  • The 2011 season saw another significant schedule change. The Tradition moved from late August to early May, becoming the first major of the season. The Senior Players Championship moved from October to the August date vacated by The Tradition.
  • In 2012, the order was almost completely reshuffled. The schedule was also greatly compressed, with all five majors now being played in a two-month period:
    • The Senior PGA Championship remained at its end of May slot.
    • The Tradition moved from early May to mid-June.
    • The Senior Players Championship, formerly the last major of the season in August, moved to late June/early July
    • The U.S. Senior Open remains the fourth major in schedule order, but is now held in mid-July.
    • The Senior British Open kept its 2011 date, but due to the other schedule changes is now the final major.

Unlike the mainstream majors, two of the senior majors have title sponsors, and the Senior PGA Championship and Senior British Open have presenting sponsors whose names appear after the tournament title. Also unlike the mainstream majors, none of which falls under the direct jurisdiction of any professional tour, the Champions Tour directly operates two of its majors—The Tradition and the Senior Players Championship. The other three senior majors are operated by the same bodies that organize their mainstream counterparts—the PGA of America for the Senior PGA, The R&A for the Senior British Open, and the USGA for the U.S. Senior Open.

The Senior PGA is by far the oldest of the senior majors, having commenced in the 1930s. The other four tournaments all date from 1980 or later, having been founded in the era when senior golf became a commercial success. This occurred when the first big golf stars of the television era, men such as Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, began to reach the relevant age.

Unlike mainstream men's golf, the senior game does not have a globally agreed set of majors. The three majors recognised by the European Seniors Tour are the Senior PGA Championship and the U.S. and British Senior Opens. However, the Champions Tour is much more dominant in global senior golf than the PGA Tour is in mainstream men's golf.

Senior major winners[edit]

The table below show the results of all the events designated as majors by the Champions Tour. As the order in which the majors were played frequently changes, they are listed in the current order of play. Winners of Senior PGA Championships played before 1980 and Senior British Opens played before 2003 are not listed here as they were not Champions Tour majors at the time nor retroactively recognized as majors. Those winners are shown in the tournaments' articles. The other three tournaments have been Champions Tour majors throughout their existence. The Senior PGA Championship was held twice in 1984 but was not held in 1983 or 1985.

Jack Nicklaus holds the record for the most senior majors won with eight. He also has the record for the number of regular majors won (18).

Nicklaus also holds the record as the only person to have won four different senior majors. At the time, this was a 'Career Grand Slam' as the Senior British Open did not become the 5th major until 2003, by which time Nicklaus had effectively retired from senior golf (his only appearance in the Senior British Open was in 2003). Nobody has managed to win all five different majors.

Year The Tradition Senior PGA
Championship
Senior Players
Championship
U.S. Senior Open Senior British
Open
2014 United States Kenny Perry (3/3) Scotland Colin Montgomerie (1/2) Germany Bernhard Langer (3/4) Scotland Colin Montgomerie (2/2) Germany Bernhard Langer (4/4)
2013 South Africa David Frost Japan Kōki Idoki United States Kenny Perry (1/3) United States Kenny Perry (2/3) United States Mark Wiebe
2012 United States Tom Lehman (3/3) England Roger Chapman (1/2) United States Joe Daley England Roger Chapman (2/2) United States Fred Couples (2/2)
2011 United States Tom Lehman (2/3) United States Tom Watson (6/6) United States Fred Couples (1/2) United States Olin Browne United States Russ Cochran
2010 United States Fred Funk (3/3) United States Tom Lehman (1/3) United States Mark O'Meara Germany Bernhard Langer (2/4) Germany Bernhard Langer (1/4)
2009 United States Mike Reid (2/2) United States Michael Allen United States Jay Haas (3/3) United States Fred Funk (2/3) United States Loren Roberts (4/4)
2008 United States Fred Funk (1/3) United States Jay Haas (2/3) United States D. A. Weibring Argentina Eduardo Romero (2/2) United States Bruce Vaughan
2007 Zimbabwe/Republic of Ireland Mark McNulty Zimbabwe Denis Watson United States Loren Roberts (3/4) United States Brad Bryant United States Tom Watson (5/6)
2006 Argentina Eduardo Romero (1/2) United States Jay Haas (1/3) United States Bobby Wadkins United States Allen Doyle (4/4) United States Loren Roberts (2/4)
2005 United States Loren Roberts (1/4) United States Mike Reid (1/2) United States Peter Jacobsen (2/2) United States Allen Doyle (3/4) United States Tom Watson (4/6)
2004 United States Craig Stadler (2/2) United States Hale Irwin (7/7) England Mark James United States Peter Jacobsen (1/2) United States Pete Oakley
2003 United States Tom Watson (3/6) United States John Jacobs United States Craig Stadler (1/2) United States Bruce Lietzke United States Tom Watson (2/6)
2002 United States Jim Thorpe United States Fuzzy Zoeller Australia Stewart Ginn United States Don Pooley Not a
Champions Tour
event
2001 United States Doug Tewell (2/2) United States Tom Watson (1/6) United States Allen Doyle (2/4) United States Bruce Fleisher
2000 United States Tom Kite United States Doug Tewell (1/2) United States Raymond Floyd (4/4) United States Hale Irwin (6/7)
1999 Australia Graham Marsh (2/2) United States Allen Doyle (1/4) United States Hale Irwin (5/7) United States Dave Eichelberger
1998 United States Gil Morgan (2/3) United States Hale Irwin (3/7) United States Gil Morgan (3/3) United States Hale Irwin (4/7)
1997 United States Gil Morgan (1/3) United States Hale Irwin (2/7) United States Larry Gilbert Australia Graham Marsh (1/2)
1996 United States Jack Nicklaus (8/8) United States Hale Irwin (1/7) United States Raymond Floyd (3/4) United States Dave Stockton (3/3)
1995 United States Jack Nicklaus (7/8) United States Raymond Floyd (2/4) United States J. C. Snead United States Tom Weiskopf
1994 United States Raymond Floyd (1/4) United States Lee Trevino (4/4) United States Dave Stockton (2/3) South Africa Simon Hobday
1993 United States Tom Shaw United States Tom Wargo United States Jack Nicklaus (6/8) United States Jim Colbert
1992 United States Lee Trevino (3/4) United States Lee Trevino (2/4) United States Dave Stockton (1/3) United States Larry Laoretti
1991 United States Jack Nicklaus (5/8) United States Jack Nicklaus (3/8) United States Jim Albus United States Jack Nicklaus (4/8)
1990 United States Jack Nicklaus (1/8) South Africa Gary Player (6/6) United States Jack Nicklaus (2/8) United States Lee Trevino (1/4)
1989 United States Don Bies United States Larry Mowry United States Orville Moody (2/2) United States Orville Moody (1/2)
1988 Founded in 1989 South Africa Gary Player (4/6) United States Billy Casper (2/2) South Africa Gary Player (5/6)
1987 United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez (2/2) South Africa Gary Player (3/6) South Africa Gary Player (2/6)
1986 South Africa Gary Player (1/6) United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez (1/2) United States Dale Douglass Founded in 1987
1985 Not held United States Arnold Palmer (5/5) United States Miller Barber (5/5)
1984 Dec. Australia Peter Thomson United States Arnold Palmer (4/5) United States Miller Barber (4/5)
Jan. United States Arnold Palmer (3/5)
1983 Not held United States Miller Barber (3/5) United States Billy Casper (1/2)
1982 United States Don January Founded in 1983 United States Miller Barber (2/5)
1981 United States Miller Barber (1/5) United States Arnold Palmer (2/5)
1980 United States Arnold Palmer (1/5) Argentina Roberto DeVicenzo