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 Senior 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.

Bernhard Langer holds the record for the most senior majors won with ten. Gary Player has also won nine championships that are now considered senior golf majors, but three of his titles came at the Senior Open Championship before this tournament officially gained senior major status. Jack Nicklaus has won eight senior majors and holds the record for the most regular majors won (18).

Bernhard Langer is the only player to have won each of the five senior major championships and is therefore held to have won the 'Career Grand Slam.' In his time, Nicklaus also held a 'Career Grand Slam' as the Senior British Open did not become the fifth senior major until 2003, by which time Nicklaus had effectively retired from senior golf (his only appearance in the Senior British Open was in 2003).

Year The Tradition Senior PGA
Championship
U.S. Senior Open Senior Players
Championship
Senior British
Open
2018 Spain Miguel Ángel Jiménez England Paul Broadhurst (2/2) United States David Toms Fiji Vijay Singh Jul 26–29, Old Course at St Andrews
2017 Germany Bernhard Langer (8/10) Germany Bernhard Langer (9/10) United States Kenny Perry (4/4) United States Scott McCarron Germany Bernhard Langer (10/10)
2016 Germany Bernhard Langer (6/10) United States Rocco Mediate United States Gene Sauers Germany Bernhard Langer (7/10) England Paul Broadhurst (1/2)
2015 United States Jeff Maggert (1/2) Scotland Colin Montgomerie (3/3) United States Jeff Maggert (2/2) Germany Bernhard Langer (5/10) United States Marco Dawson
2014 United States Kenny Perry (3/4) Scotland Colin Montgomerie (1/3) Scotland Colin Montgomerie (2/3) Germany Bernhard Langer (3/10) Germany Bernhard Langer (4/10)
2013 South Africa David Frost Japan Kōki Idoki United States Kenny Perry (2/4) United States Kenny Perry (1/4) United States Mark Wiebe
2012 United States Tom Lehman (3/3) England Roger Chapman (1/2) England Roger Chapman (2/2) United States Joe Daley United States Fred Couples (2/2)
2011 United States Tom Lehman (2/3) United States Tom Watson (6/6) United States Olin Browne United States Fred Couples (1/2) United States Russ Cochran
2010 United States Fred Funk (3/3) United States Tom Lehman (1/3) Germany Bernhard Langer (2/10) United States Mark O'Meara Germany Bernhard Langer (1/10)
2009 United States Mike Reid (2/2) United States Michael Allen United States Fred Funk (2/3) United States Jay Haas (3/3) United States Loren Roberts (4/4)
2008 United States Fred Funk (1/3) United States Jay Haas (2/3) Argentina Eduardo Romero (2/2) United States D. A. Weibring United States Bruce Vaughan
2007 Zimbabwe/Republic of Ireland Mark McNulty Zimbabwe Denis Watson United States Brad Bryant United States Loren Roberts (3/4) United States Tom Watson (5/6)
2006 Argentina Eduardo Romero (1/2) United States Jay Haas (1/3) United States Allen Doyle (4/4) United States Bobby Wadkins United States Loren Roberts (2/4)
2005 United States Loren Roberts (1/4) United States Mike Reid (1/2) United States Allen Doyle (3/4) United States Peter Jacobsen (2/2) United States Tom Watson (4/6)
2004 United States Craig Stadler (2/2) United States Hale Irwin (7/7) United States Peter Jacobsen (1/2) England Mark James United States Pete Oakley
2003 United States Tom Watson (3/6) United States John Jacobs United States Bruce Lietzke United States Craig Stadler (1/2) United States Tom Watson (2/6)
2002 United States Jim Thorpe United States Fuzzy Zoeller United States Don Pooley Australia Stewart Ginn Not a
Champions Tour
event
2001 United States Doug Tewell (2/2) United States Tom Watson (1/6) United States Bruce Fleisher United States Allen Doyle (2/4)
2000 United States Tom Kite United States Doug Tewell (1/2) United States Hale Irwin (6/7) United States Raymond Floyd (4/4)
1999 Australia Graham Marsh (2/2) United States Allen Doyle (1/4) United States Dave Eichelberger United States Hale Irwin (5/7)
1998 United States Gil Morgan (2/3) United States Hale Irwin (3/7) United States Hale Irwin (4/7) United States Gil Morgan (3/3)
1997 United States Gil Morgan (1/3) United States Hale Irwin (2/7) Australia Graham Marsh (1/2) United States Larry Gilbert
1996 United States Jack Nicklaus (8/8) United States Hale Irwin (1/7) United States Dave Stockton (3/3) United States Raymond Floyd (3/4)
1995 United States Jack Nicklaus (7/8) United States Raymond Floyd (2/4) United States Tom Weiskopf United States J. C. Snead
1994 United States Raymond Floyd (1/4) United States Lee Trevino (4/4) South Africa Simon Hobday United States Dave Stockton (2/3)
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 Larry Laoretti United States Dave Stockton (1/3)
1991 United States Jack Nicklaus (5/8) United States Jack Nicklaus (3/8) United States Jack Nicklaus (4/8) United States Jim Albus
1990 United States Jack Nicklaus (1/8) South Africa Gary Player (6/6) United States Lee Trevino (1/4) United States Jack Nicklaus (2/8)
1989 United States Don Bies United States Larry Mowry United States Orville Moody (1/2) United States Orville Moody (2/2)
1988 Not yet founded South Africa Gary Player (4/6) South Africa Gary Player (5/6) United States Billy Casper (2/2)
1987 United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez (2/2) South Africa Gary Player (2/6) South Africa Gary Player (3/6)
1986 South Africa Gary Player (1/6) United States Dale Douglass United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez (1/2) Not yet founded
1985 Not held United States Miller Barber (5/5) United States Arnold Palmer (5/5)
1984 December: Australia Peter Thomson United States Miller Barber (4/5) United States Arnold Palmer (4/5)
January: United States Arnold Palmer (3/5)
1983 Not held United States Billy Casper (1/2) United States Miller Barber (3/5)
1982 United States Don January United States Miller Barber (2/5) Not yet founded
1981 United States Miller Barber (1/5) United States Arnold Palmer (2/5)
1980 United States Arnold Palmer (1/5) Argentina Roberto DeVicenzo

By country[edit]

Senior major championship winning golfers by country
Country The Tradition Senior PGA Championship U.S. Senior Open Senior Players Championship Senior British Open Total
 United States 23 27 30 28 11 119
 Germany 2 1 1 3 3 10
 South Africa 1 3 3 1 0 8
 England 0 2 1 1 1 5
 Australia 1 1 1 1 0 4
 Argentina 1 0 2 0 0 3
 Scotland 0 2 1 0 0 3
 Zimbabwe 1 1 0 0 0 2
 Fiji 0 0 0 1 0 1
 Ireland 1 0 0 0 0 1
 Japan 0 1 0 0 0 1
 Spain 1 0 0 0 0 1