Our man at De Vere Slaley Hall brings you all of the action from behind the scenes at the De Vere Collection PGA Seniors Championship.
As well as being the European Senior Tour’s flagship event, aside from The Senior Open Championship, The De Vere Collection PGA Seniors Championship is also a special week for a couple of players here at Slaley Hall this week. Barry Lane turned 50 on Monday and joins the Senior Tour following a hugely successful career on The European Tour where he won five titles and played in The 1993 Ryder Cup.
Although Barry isn’t partial to a drink, I’m sure there would be a toast on his behalf if he can take the title on his debut. Lane would be 50 years old and six days old on Sunday, meaning he would be the youngest winner in Senior Tour history. That record is currently held by John Bland who was 50 and nine days when he won the London Masters in 1995.
Also celebrating his birthday this week is defending champion Carl Mason, who turns 57 on Friday. Carl, of course, knows all about breaking records on the Senior Tour and could match another this week if he retains the title. That would be his 23 Senior Tour victory drawing him level with Tommy Horton as the most prolific winner in Senior Tour history. Having last week become the first man to pass the €2million mark in career earnings, Carl has firmly set his sights on Tommy’s benchmark and it would be some birthday present to himself should he achieve it here this week.
Ryder Cup shoot out
Barry Lane became the latest former Ryder Cup player to join the Senior Tour this week and his first task was to take part in a Ryder Cup shoot out here at Slaley Hall. Barry was one of seven players to take part in the fun event, pitching from the clubhouse terrace onto the 18th green. He was joined by Irish trio Eamonn Darcy, Eddie Polland and Des Smyth, as well as Italian Costantino Rocca and former Ryder Cup Captains Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam. Despite the players’ best efforts to put each other off, it was Smyth who eventually knocked his ball closest to the pin to take the bragging rights. Another success for the Irish then, albeit not quite on the same scale as Graeme McDowell’s marvellous victory in the US Open last week. Des , like most players, has been quick to sing the praises of G-Mac, whose Pebble Beach performance captivated everyone. I’m sure he’ll be keen to add a victory of his own to the list of wins by his compatriots in 2010.
Slaley Hall is renowned as a golfing resort but the picturesque venue has also previously hosted the England football team for training camps. Of course England are playing Germany in the second round of the World Cup on Sunday at 3pm. As a result there will be a two tee start on Sunday to ensure the final round here is completed in time so that spectators can also enjoy the football, which will be shown on screens at Slaley Hall. With some golfing legends battling it out at the top of the leaderboard and a massive match afterwards, it’s set to be a super Sunday at Slaley.