VIRGINIA WATER, England -- Roger Chapman of England has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour in recognition of his historic two victories in senior major championships in 2012, Tour officials have announced.
In May, Chapman became the first Englishman to win the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid -- and the first European since Jock Hutchison in 1947 -- courtesy of a two-stroke victory at Harbor Shores in Michigan.
He returned to the same American state in July and sealed an extraordinary double by capturing the U.S. Senior Open at Indianwood Golf and Country Club, becoming only the fourth player following Gary Player (1987), Jack Nicklaus (1991) and Hale Irwin (1998) to capture both titles in the same season.
The 53-year-old Chapman received the John Jacobs Trophy earlier this month for winning the 2012 European Senior Tour Order of Merit, and he was bestowed with yet another award when European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady announced that he would become the 45th player to receive the honorary life membership.
“This season has been an absolute dream for me, winning two senior majors and then then Senior Tour Order of Merit, so I am extremely proud to have now also been given Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour,” said Chapman. “It is an honor which was totally unexpected and I am very grateful to George and everyone at the Tour for their support and for giving me this recognition.”
After a superb amateur career, Chapman turned professional in 1981 and played in 619 European Tour events, the third-most number of appearances in European Tour’s history behind Sam Torrance (706) and Barry Lane (682).
After finishing runner-up on six occasions, he eventually made his breakthrough in his 472nd European Tour event, defeating future three-time major champion Padraig Harrington in a playoff to win the Brazil Rio de Janeiro 500 Years Open.
He also served on the European Tour’s Board of Directors from 2004 to 2009, and briefly worked as a Rules Official before joining the Senior Tour in 2009.
“It was the unanimous wish of the Tournament Committee that Roger be awarded Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour,” said O’Grady. “When you consider that Roger is only the fourth player to win both titles in the same season, and the other three are Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Hale Irwin, it illustrates the magnitude of his accomplishment.”