- Senior PGA
Administered by the PGA of America, the Senior PGA Championship is a 72-hole stroke play event for male professional golfers aged fifty and over that has been played on the PGA Tour Champions professional circuit (previously known as the Senior PGA Tour and Champions Tour) since that tour was established in 1980.
The competition goes back a lot further, to 1937 in fact, when it started out as a 54-hole event. The next thirteen editions were reduced to a 36-hole contest before the format reverted back to 54 holes for a short time between 1954 and 1957. Since then, it’s been played as four rounds of 18 holes.
The inaugural competition was held at Augusta National, with Scots-born Jock Hutchison, who became a naturalized US citizen in 1920, winning the event. Jock had previously won the PGA Championship in 1920 then the Open Championship in 1921 and he would go on to win the Senior PGA a second time in 1947.
The second edition of the tournament was again hosted by Augusta National in 1938 and another Scotsman, Fred McLeod – who’d won the US Open at Myopia Hunt in 1908 – took the honours. Fred, it must be said, had acquired quite a bit of local knowledge of the course as he’d played in the first four editions of the Masters Tournament at the same venue, from 1934 to 1937.
The Senior PGA Championship then moved to Florida, where it remained until it was eventually staged by Ridgewood Country Club, New Jersey in 2001. During that sixty year period in the Sunshine State, the tournament had long residencies at the PGA National Golf Club in Dunedin (1945-1962) and Palm Beach Gardens on the Champion course (1982-2000).
Sam Snead claimed a record sixth Senior PGA title in 1973 then a year later Roberto De Vicenzo became the first non-American to win since Fred McLeod in the 1930s when his aggregate score of fifteen under par was enough to give him victory over the rest of the field at Port St Lucie Country Club.
A decade later, Australian Peter Thomson became the next “outsider” to win the competition and he was quickly followed by Gary Player from South Africa who came out on top three times between 1986 and 1990.
Since the tournament moved out of Florida at the start of the new millennium, a number of other non-American professionals have made their mark on the event, including Zimbabwean Denis Watson at Kiawah Island in 2007, Scotsman Colin Montgomerie (2014 and 2015), and Bernard Langer at Trump National, Washington in 2017.
Sam Snead has won most Senior PGA events (6), followed by Hale Irwin with four between 1996 and 2004. Three seniors have each had their name etched on the trophy three times: Eddie Williams (1942-1946); Al Watrous (1950-1957); and Gary Player (1986-1990).
The East course at Ballenisles Country Club – formerly the Champion course at PGA National Golf Club – has hosted the most number of championships: eight between 1966 and 1973 then eighteen between 1982 and 2000.
You’ll not find the following host courses below as they are not currently ranked in any of our listings: Sarasota Bay Country Club, Fort Myers Country Club, Dunedin Golf Club, Port St Lucie Country Club and The Golf Club at Harbor Shores.
Senior PGA Top 100 Leaderboard