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Senior major golf championships

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 winnersEdit

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 eleven. 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
2019   Steve Stricker (1/2)   Ken Tanigawa   Steve Stricker (2/2)   Retief Goosen   Bernhard Langer (11/11)
2018   Miguel Ángel Jiménez (1/2)   Paul Broadhurst (2/2)   David Toms   Vijay Singh   Miguel Ángel Jiménez (2/2)
2017   Bernhard Langer (8/11)   Bernhard Langer (9/11)   Kenny Perry (4/4)   Scott McCarron   Bernhard Langer (10/11)
2016   Bernhard Langer (6/11)   Rocco Mediate   Gene Sauers   Bernhard Langer (7/11)   Paul Broadhurst (1/2)
2015   Jeff Maggert (1/2)   Colin Montgomerie (3/3)   Jeff Maggert (2/2)   Bernhard Langer (5/11)   Marco Dawson
2014   Kenny Perry (3/4)   Colin Montgomerie (1/3)   Colin Montgomerie (2/3)   Bernhard Langer (3/11)   Bernhard Langer (4/11)
2013   David Frost   Kōki Idoki   Kenny Perry (2/4)   Kenny Perry (1/4)   Mark Wiebe
2012   Tom Lehman (3/3)   Roger Chapman (1/2)   Roger Chapman (2/2)   Joe Daley   Fred Couples (2/2)
2011   Tom Lehman (2/3)   Tom Watson (6/6)   Olin Browne   Fred Couples (1/2)   Russ Cochran
2010   Fred Funk (3/3)   Tom Lehman (1/3)   Bernhard Langer (2/11)   Mark O'Meara   Bernhard Langer (1/11)
2009   Mike Reid (2/2)   Michael Allen   Fred Funk (2/3)   Jay Haas (3/3)   Loren Roberts (4/4)
2008   Fred Funk (1/3)   Jay Haas (2/3)   Eduardo Romero (2/2)   D. A. Weibring   Bruce Vaughan
2007  /  Mark McNulty   Denis Watson   Brad Bryant   Loren Roberts (3/4)   Tom Watson (5/6)
2006   Eduardo Romero (1/2)   Jay Haas (1/3)   Allen Doyle (4/4)   Bobby Wadkins   Loren Roberts (2/4)
2005   Loren Roberts (1/4)   Mike Reid (1/2)   Allen Doyle (3/4)   Peter Jacobsen (2/2)   Tom Watson (4/6)
2004   Craig Stadler (2/2)   Hale Irwin (7/7)   Peter Jacobsen (1/2)   Mark James   Pete Oakley
2003   Tom Watson (3/6)   John Jacobs   Bruce Lietzke   Craig Stadler (1/2)   Tom Watson (2/6)
2002   Jim Thorpe   Fuzzy Zoeller   Don Pooley   Stewart Ginn Not a
Champions Tour
event
2001   Doug Tewell (2/2)   Tom Watson (1/6)   Bruce Fleisher   Allen Doyle (2/4)
2000   Tom Kite   Doug Tewell (1/2)   Hale Irwin (6/7)   Raymond Floyd (4/4)
1999   Graham Marsh (2/2)   Allen Doyle (1/4)   Dave Eichelberger   Hale Irwin (5/7)
1998   Gil Morgan (2/3)   Hale Irwin (3/7)   Hale Irwin (4/7)   Gil Morgan (3/3)
1997   Gil Morgan (1/3)   Hale Irwin (2/7)   Graham Marsh (1/2)   Larry Gilbert
1996   Jack Nicklaus (8/8)   Hale Irwin (1/7)   Dave Stockton (3/3)   Raymond Floyd (3/4)
1995   Jack Nicklaus (7/8)   Raymond Floyd (2/4)   Tom Weiskopf   J. C. Snead
1994   Raymond Floyd (1/4)   Lee Trevino (4/4)   Simon Hobday   Dave Stockton (2/3)
1993   Tom Shaw   Tom Wargo   Jack Nicklaus (6/8)   Jim Colbert
1992   Lee Trevino (3/4)   Lee Trevino (2/4)   Larry Laoretti   Dave Stockton (1/3)
1991   Jack Nicklaus (5/8)   Jack Nicklaus (3/8)   Jack Nicklaus (4/8)   Jim Albus
1990   Jack Nicklaus (1/8)   Gary Player (6/6)   Lee Trevino (1/4)   Jack Nicklaus (2/8)
1989   Don Bies   Larry Mowry   Orville Moody (1/2)   Orville Moody (2/2)
1988 Not yet founded   Gary Player (4/6)   Gary Player (5/6)   Billy Casper (2/2)
1987   Chi-Chi Rodríguez (2/2)   Gary Player (2/6)   Gary Player (3/6)
1986   Gary Player (1/6)   Dale Douglass   Chi-Chi Rodríguez (1/2) Not yet founded
1985 Not held   Miller Barber (5/5)   Arnold Palmer (5/5)
1984 December:   Peter Thomson   Miller Barber (4/5)   Arnold Palmer (4/5)
January:   Arnold Palmer (3/5)
1983 Not held   Billy Casper (1/2)   Miller Barber (3/5)
1982   Don January   Miller Barber (2/5) Not yet founded
1981   Miller Barber (1/5)   Arnold Palmer (2/5)
1980   Arnold Palmer (1/5)   Roberto DeVicenzo

By countryEdit

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 24 28 31 29 11 123
  Germany 2 1 1 3 4 11
  South Africa 1 3 3 2 0 9
  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
  Spain 1 0 0 0 1 2
  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