Former U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman hit one far and straight during the Pro-Am. (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
Notebook: Defending champion Allen's team prevails in pro-am
PARKER, Colo. -- The team led by defending Senior PGA Champion Michael Allen won a match of cards and won the Pro-Am Tuesday at Colorado Golf Club. Based on having a lower score on the back nine, Allen's team prevailed over the team paced by Bernhard Langer, a two-time Masters Champion and the 2004 European Ryder Cup Team Captain. Each team shot 14-under-par 58.
The amateurs on the winning team: John Zingales, Walter Hammond, Craig Bashein and Kevin Mackay.
SEVEN WITHDRAWALS: Seven players have withdrawn since the pairings for the first two rounds were released on Friday.
The players who withdrew, their reason for withdrawing and their replacements:
--Jerry Pate (bad knees), Jodie Mudd
--Allen Doyle (bad back), Steve Waugh
--Scott Hoch (wrist injury), Robert L. Thompson
--Mark McCumber (bad back), Jeff Coston
--Jim Dent (medical), Michael Podolak
--Tom Pernice Jr. (playing the PGA Tour event), Todd Smith
--Craig Stadler (medical), Dick Mast
LIFE PARTNER ON THE BAG: Chris Thompson of Huntsville, Texas, associate athletic director at Sam Houston State University and wife of Champions Tour professional Robert Thompson, is one of several spouses caddying for their husbands in the Senior PGA Championship. Chris has been her husband’s caddie since 1981, chiefly because she knows the fine art of caddying.
“I know his game so well, and I know what to say when it’s time to say something, and know when it’s best not to say anything,” said Chris Thompson, who has been the associate athletic director the past 14 years after serving 16 previous seasons as women’s tennis coach.
“You have to be a team to survive as a caddie,” she said.
Robert Thompson, 53, is making his third appearance in the Championship, having tied for 59th in 2008. This year has been a struggle, however, as he attempts to earn spots in Champions Tour events through Monday qualifying.
Thompson was fully exempt in 2009 after sailing through the 2008 Qualifying School as medalist.
“It’s a tough road out here every week,” said Chris, watching her husband practice on the putting green.
Chris had one pleasant surprise earlier this week that may indicate that caddies are not so anonymous.
Two members of the Colorado Golf Club operations staff are also students in the PGA of America Professional Golf Management program at Sam Houston State.
“It was a great surprise to see them and to be recognized right off the bat,” she said.
WHAT’S FOR DINNER?: One of the special traditions of Senior PGA Championship week is the Champions' Dinner, which brings together Senior PGA Champions and PGA Champions for an evening of good food and friendship.
Michael Allen, the defending Senior PGA Champion, is hosting the dinner Tuesday night at the Denver Marriott South at Park Meadows. Allen and his wife, Cynthia, selected the following menu:
--Iceberg Wedge with sliced egg, diced roma tomatoes, crisp bacon, Cotija crumbles and bleu cheese dressing
--Colorado Lamb Chops with blackberry jus, accompanied with Scallop, Prawns and blood orange cream sauce, whipped Yukon’s and grilled asparagus
--Vanilla Haagen Dazs ice cream with assorted fresh berries and sauces
The Allens are giving a wine decanter and a set of wine glasses to the champions who are expected to attend the dinner. They include Senior PGA Champions Jay Haas, Hale Irwin, John Jacobs, Mike Reid, Tom Wargo, Denis Watson, Tom Watson and Fuzzy Zoeller, along with PGA Champions Paul Azinger, Dow Finsterwald, Nick Price, Jeff Sluman, Hal Sutton and Bob Tway.
ELITE COMPANY: 11 men in history have won both the Senior Championship and the PGA Championship — Julius Boros, Raymond Floyd, Chandler Harper, Jock Hutchison, Don January, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Paul Runyan, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead and Lee Trevino. With his victory at the 1995 Senior PGA Championship, Floyd became the most recent dual Champion.
SO CLOSE: Jeff Sluman has yet to win the Senior PGA Championship in two tries,but the 1988 PGA Champion has certainly been a factor. Last year, Sluman tied for fifth at Canterbury Golf Club near Cleveland. In 2008, he tied for ninth in his inaugural Senior PGA Championship, at Oak Hill Country Club in his native Rochester, N.Y.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: Forty-eight (48) of the top 50 current money leaders on the Champions Tour are competing this week at the Senior PGA Championship.
THE COLORADO CREW: PGA Club Professional Bill Loeffler of Castle Rock will be the first player to tee off on the first tee on Thursday, at 7:45 a.m. Michael Zaremba of Pueblo West starts Thursday on the first tee at 9:15 a.m., while Ron Vlosich (Lakewood) tees of on No. 10 at 12:50 p.m.
GROUPS OF GREATS: Notable pairings for the first two rounds of the 71st Senior PGA Championship:
8:40 a.m. Thursday, 10th Tee/1:45 p.m. Friday, 1st Tee
Ben Crenshaw (Two-time Masters champion and co-course designer of Colorado Golf Club, Michael Allen (Defending Senior PGA Champion), and Tom Watson (2001 Senior PGA Champion and 1993 U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain
9:10 a.m. Thursday, 10th Tee/2:15 p.m. Friday, 1st Tee
Fred Couples (1992 Masters Champion), Bernhard Langer (Two-time Masters Champion and 2004 European Ryder Cup Team Captain), and Fred Funk
9:20 a.m. Thursday, 10th Tee/2:25 p.m. Friday, 1st Tee
Paul Azinger (1993 PGA Champion and 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain), Peter Jacobsen and Larry Nelson (Two-Time PGA Champion and 1983 U.S. Open Champion)
2:15 p.m. Thursday, 1st Tee/9:10 a.m. Friday, 10th Tee
Nick Price (Two-Time PGA Champion and 1994 British Open Champion), Hal Sutton (1983 PGA Champion and 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain), and Tom Lehman (1996 British Open Champion and 2006 U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain)