It'll be nice to see this smile again in the Sr. PGA. (Photo: Getty Images)
It'll be nice to see this smile again in the Sr. PGA. (Photo: Getty Images)

Major Event; Welcoming Lee; Hale's World and more

It's been five long years since we've seen Lee Trevino's infectious smile at the Senior PGA Championship. But the merry Mex is back, hoping to add a third title to his impressive resume.

By Bob Denney, PGA of America

EDMOND, Okla. -- Seventeen major champions, a world-class international field and a return to one of the nation's most challenging venues is part of the package for the 67th Senior PGA Championship, May 25-28, at Oak Tree Golf Club in Edmond, Okla.

The most prestigious event in senior golf, the 67th Senior PGA Championship features a 156-player field, including defending champion Mike Reid and 10 past Senior PGA Champions. Overall, the 17 major champions in the field have combined to win 49 major titles. A closer inspection, more notes about the 67th Senior PGA Championship:

In the backyard of the Oak Tree Gang: Oak Tree Golf Club and its surrounding residential community has been either the home club or home to many of the finest Tour professionals. The list includes 1986 PGA Champion Bob Tway, 2000 Senior PGA Champion Doug Tewell, David Edwards, Mark Hayes, Gil Morgan, Scott Verplank and Willie Wood. This week, 50-somethings Edwards, Hayes, Morgan and Tewell are in the field.

Oak Tree Joins Elite List: The 67th Senior PGA Championship gives Oak Tree Golf Club the being the sixth course in history to host both a PGA Tour and Senior PGA Championship. It hosted the 1988 PGA Championship. The other courses to have hosted each event were PGA National Golf Club of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Valhalla Golf Club of Louisville, Ky.; Firestone Country Club of Akron, Ohio; Aronimink Golf Club of Newtown Square, Pa., and Laurel Valley Golf Club of Ligonier, Pa.

Familiar Major Territory: There are 46 players in the field who competed in the 1988 PGA Championship at Oak Tree Golf Club. The highest finisher who will compete this week is Tom Kite, who tied for fourth in 1988.

The complete list of 1988 returnees from the PGA Championship and their finish: Tom Kite (T-4), Bob Gilder (T-6), Dan Pohl (8), Raymond Floyd (T-9), Craig Stadler (T-15), Mark McNulty (T-17), Jay Overton (T-17), David Edwards (T-25), Curtis Strange (T-31), Tom Watson (T-31), Isao Aoki (T-38), Jay Haas (T-38), David Ishii (T-38), Hale Irwin (T-38), Larry Nelson (T-38), Peter Jacobsen (47), Dave Stockton (T-48), Scott Bess (T-52), D.A. Weibring (T-52), Don Pooley (T-58), Bruce Lietzke (T-62), Mike Reid (64), Gibby Gilbert (65), Bobby Wadkins (66), Doug Tewell (70).

From All Points of the Compass: There are 34 players, representing 13 countries, at Oak Tree this week. Japan again leads the list with seven players. The overall international delegation: Argentina -- Luis Carbonetti, Vicente Fernandez, Eduardo Romero; Australia -- Terry Gale, Noel Ratcliffe; Canada -- Dave Barr; England -- Gordon J. Brand, Bob Cameron, Mark James, Nick Job, Carl Mason; Greenland -- Doug LaCrosse; Ireland -- Mark McNulty, Des Smyth; Italy -- Giuseppe Cali; Japan -- Isao Aoki, Massy Kuramoto, Takashi Miyoshi, Kiyoshi Murota, Tsuneyuki Nakajima, Joe Ozaki, Katsuyoshi Tomori; Scotland -- John Chillas, Martin Gray, Bill Longmuir, David J. Russell, Sam Torrance; South Africa -- Hugh Baiocchi, John Bland, Gary Player; Spain -- Jose Maria Canizares, Jose Rivero; Zimbabwe -- Tony Johnstone

OKLA-HOME-A: Oklahomans in the field include David Edwards, Stillwater; Mark Hayes, Edmond; Gil Morgan, Edmond; Doug Tewell, Edmond; and Ron Streck, Tulsa.

The Last Time: The Senior PGA Championship was contested in May, Mike Reid won a one-hole sudden death playoff over Jerry Pate and Dana Quigley at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, Pa.

A Full House: The 67th Senior PGA Championship is one of six major championships (any tour) that feature a field of 156 players. The others are the PGA Championship, U.S. Open, British Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Women's Open.

Senior Golf in Oklahoma: Since 1984, there have been six previous Champions Tour events contested in Oklahoma. The 67th Senior PGA Championship is the first major on the senior circuit to be conducted in the Sooner State. The last Champions Tour event in Oklahoma was the 2002 Senior Tour Championship, at Gaillardia Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City.

The winners of the Oklahoma City events were Chi Chi Rodriguez (1987), Gary Player (1988), Bobby Nichols (1989), Jimmy Powell (1990), Bob Gilder (2001) and Tom Watson (2002). Player, Gilder and Watson are all playing at Oak Tree this week.

The Last Tour Event at Oak Tree: The last PGA Tour event at Oak Tree Golf Club was the 1988 PGA Championship, won by Jeff Sluman. During the Championship, Dave Rummells posted a course-record 7-under-par 64 in the second round.

Calling All Champions: Defending Champion Mike Reid is joined in the field by the following past Senior PGA Champions: Allen Doyle (1999), Raymond Floyd (1995), Hale Irwin (1996, '97, '98, 2004), Gary Player (1986, '88, '90), Doug Tewell (2000), Lee Trevino (1992, '94), Tom Wargo (1993), Tom Watson (2001) and Fuzzy Zoeller (2002).

Welcome Back, Lee: Hall of Famer and two-time Champion Lee Trevino, is making his 13th appearance in the Senior PGA Championship, but first since 2001, when he finished tied for 59th place.

He's Still a Player: Three-time Senior PGA Champion Gary Player (1986, '88, '90) will mark his 21st appearance in the Championship, which moves him into a tie for ninth in the all-time list with three-time Champion EddieWilliams (1942, '45, '46) and Charles Mayo.

It's a Major Happening: Seventeen players visiting Oak Tree Golf Club own 49 major championships, beginning in 1959 with Gary Player's British Open victory, the first of his nine overall majors. The following major champions in the field and their years of victory:

Gary Player, 9 Masters -- 1961, 1974, 1978 U.S. Open -- 1965 British Open -- 1959, 1968, 1974 PGA Championship -- 1962, 1972

Tom Watson, 8 Masters -- 1977, 1981 British Open -- 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983 U.S. Open -- 1982

Lee Trevino, 6 U.S. Open -- 1968, 1971 British Open -- 1971, 1972 PGA Championship -- 1974, 1984

Raymond Floyd, 4 Masters -- 1976 U.S. Open -- 1986 PGA Championship 1969, 1982

Hale Irwin, 3 U.S. Open -- 1974, 1979, '90

Larry Nelson, 3 U.S. Open -- 1983 PGA Championship 1981, 1987

Hubert Green, 2 U.S. Open -- 1977 PGA Championship -- 1985

Andy North, 2 U.S. Open -- 1978, 1985

Dave Stockton, 2 PGA Championship -- 1970, 1976

Curtis Strange, 2 U.S. Open -- 1988, '89

Fuzzy Zoeller, 2 Masters -- 1979; U.S. Open -- 1984

Tommy Aaron, 1 Masters -- 1973

Tom Kite, 1 U.S. Open -- 1992

Bobby Nichols, 1 PGA Championship -- 1964

Jerry Pate, 1 U.S. Open -- 1976

Bill Rogers, 1 British Open -- 1981

Craig Stadler, 1 1982 Masters

Senior Majors This Year: The 67th Senior PGA Championship, the first major championship on the 2006 Champions Tour calendar, will be followed by the U.S. Senior Open at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., July 3-9; the Ford Senior Players Championship at TPC Michigan in Dearborn, Mich., July 10-16; the Senior British Open at the Westin Turnberry Resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, July 24-30; and the JELD-WEN Tradition at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha, Ore, Aug. 21-27.

Past Significant Events at Oak Tree: Oak Tree Golf Club also hosted the 1979 Round of Champions, the 1980 PGA Cup, the 1984 U.S. Amateur and the 2000 PGA Professional National Championship.

Coming Out Party: Japan's Joe Ozaki and PGA Professional Kirk Hanefeld will mark their debut in a Champions Tour event this week. Both players earned berths via the 2005 Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament. Each will turn 50 just prior to the tournament. Ozaki becomes eligible on May 18 and Hanefeld on May 24.

Major Winners in Oklahoma: Current Champions Tour players Hubert Green, Raymond Floyd and Dave Stockton posted major victories in the state while playing on the PGA Tour. Green won the 1977 U.S. Open, while Stockton (1970) and Floyd (1982) claimed PGA Championship wins. All three were victorious at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa.

It's Hale's World: It should come as no surprise that Hale Irwin has easily earned more money in this event than any other player -- $1,451,200 in 10 appearances. A four-time champion (1996-'98 and 2004), Irwin owns seven top-10 finishes and has been among the top three finishers six times. Irwin has compiled more rounds in the 60s than any other player (18), and his all-time scoring average of 70.38 is the lowest for players with more than one appearance.

PGA and Senior PGA Crowning Achievements: A total of 11 players have claimed both the PGA Championship as well as a Senior PGA Championship crown. The most recent to do so was Raymond Floyd, who won the 1995 event as well as the 1969 and 1982 PGA Championships. Others in this year's field who claimed both were Lee Trevino (1974 and 1984 PGA Championship, and 1992 and 1994 Senior PGA) and Gary Player (1962 and 1972 PGA Championship, and 1986, '88 and '90 Senior PGA). Others who shared that distinction were Jack Nicklaus, Don January, Jock Hutchison, Gene Sarazen, Paul Runyan, Chandler Harper, Julius Boros and Sam Snead.

First-Time Charms: Twenty-one players won the Senior PGA Championship on their first attempt. Since the start of the Champions Tour in 1980 that group includes, Arnold Palmer (1980), Miller Barber (1981), Gary Player (1986), Tom Wargo (1993), Hale Irwin (1996), Allen Doyle (1999), Doug Tewell (2000), Fuzzy Zoeller (2002) and Mike Reid (2005).

Senior PGA Aging Like Fine Wine: The Senior PGA Championship is the oldest event on the Champions Tour. Augusta National Golf Club served as host of the first event in 1937 at the invitation of the legendary Bobby Jones. After two years in Georgia, the tournament moved to Florida where it was held for more than 60 years in the following cities -- Sarasota, Fort Myers, Dunedin, Port St. Lucie, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, North Miami Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. The event began to rotate around the United States in 2001 and last year was played at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, Pa. The 2007 Senior PGA Championship is slated for Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, S.C.

Senior Winner of a Senior PGA: Hale Irwin's victory at the 2004 Senior PGA Championship came three days short of his 59th birthday, making him the oldest player to win a major since the start of the Champions Tour. Jock Hutchison won the 1947 Senior PGA Championship at age 62, making him the oldest winner in event history. Don January's win in 1979 at 50 years, 26 days, made him the youngest winner in Senior PGA Championship history.

Trying to Catch Slammin' Sam: Hale Irwin's four Senior PGA Championship victories (1996-98, 2004) are second only to legend Sam Snead's six wins (1964-65, '67, '70, 72-73). Gary Player (1986, '88, '90), Al Watrous (1950-51, '57) and Eddie Williams (1942, 45-46) each have three wins in this event. With his win last year, Irwin joined Snead, Player, Jock Hutchison (1937, '47) and Don January (1979, '82) as the only men to win the Senior PGA Championship in two separate decades.

How Past Senior PGA Champions Fared: The following is a statistical comparison of how the last five Senior PGA Championship winners have played the event in the year they won.

Year/Player Dr. Distance Fairways Hit Greens in Regulation Total Putts 2001/Tom Watson 243.1/52nd 42 of 56/T20 56 of 72/T1 112/T22 2002/Fuzzy Zoeller 282.3/2nd 36 of 56/T36 46 of 72/10th 115/T17 2003/John Jacobs 260.4/17th 38 of 56/T51 52 of 72/12th 121/T16 2004/Hale Irwin 255.3/T50 46 of 56/T3 46 of 72/T8 112/T8 2005/Mike Reid 260.5/T46 40 of 56/T34 56 of 72/2nd 120/T25

Overtime Golf: The Senior PGA Championship has only had 11 playoffs in its history, including last year when Mike Reid defeated Dana Quigley and Jerry Pate with a birdie on the first extra hole for the crown. Prior to that, the last playoff was back in 1993 when Tom Wargo defeated Bruce Crampton with a par on the second extra hole at PGA National.

Comebacks: In the past 11 years, only three players have come from behind in the final round to win the Senior PGA Championship. The three were Mike Reid (2005/two behind), John Jacobs (2003/two behind) and Fuzzy Zoeller (2002/one behind).

Celebrating its 90th anniversary, The PGA of America was founded in 1916, and is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the game of golf while continuing to enhance the standards of the profession. The Association is comprised of more than 28,000 men and women PGA Professionals who are dedicated to growing participation in the game of golf.

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