Some of the European Senior Tour’s top players react to Roger Chapman’s incredible win at the US Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, with his English compatriot Gary Wolstenholme calling it an “inspirational” victory.
Andres Forsbrand, six-time European Tour winner and 1991 World Cup winner with Sweden:
“We played a fair amount of golf together early on in our careers and I think it’s fantastic for him and for the European Senior Tour. I think it’s wonderful. He’s maybe the most under-achieved golfer from The European Tour if you break down his game.
“He’s a great driver of the ball, a great long iron player, very good medium iron, very good short iron, a great pitcher and putter. There’s nothing wrong with his game and it’s been like that since the first time I played with him so he should have won a lot more than he has done but this was a great one to make up for it.
“I'm sure he’s learned a lot from the near-misses. He built himself a great lead and he finished it off. He must have played really, really well to get to the number he got to. It’s very nice to see.
“The thing about regular Majors is that they don’t have as many Major winners in the field. A Major on the Senior Tour has a lot more experienced winners, there’s a lot of good golfers here, so to do it is really fantastic for him.”
Peter Fowler, 2011 Senior Tour Order of Merit winner and one-time European Tour winner:
“It was great to see him win. He’s always played well but that first round last week was really difficult and he shot a great score and just kept getting better, which was pleasing to see. He polished it off early in the fourth round and just cruised the rest of it. It was good stuff, I loved it.
“I played with Roger when he was an amateur in Melbourne and he cruised around in six under par, that was back in the early 1980s and that was outstanding golf on one of our toughest courses and he killed them around there. It was great to see him finish it off last week in such good company.
“I suppose some guys win a lot and don’t play consistently, but he hits the ball and plays well every year. He drives well, putts well but he just hasn’t put it together to win. It’s a bit like Carl Mason. He didn’t win much on The European Tour but always played well and just started winning after 50 and look what he’s done so Roger could be one of those players.
Barry Lane, 1993 Ryder Cup player and five-time European Tour winner:
“For everybody it was great, but for Roger especially. He’s always been a fantastic player and a perfect gentleman. We all knew how good he actually is and just a few things haven’t gone his way down the years. For him only to have won once is pretty amazing because he is such a good player. He drives well, got a good short game and a good putter and it was the icing on the cake for him.
“To win a Major is great but to win one on your first tournament is incredible. It’s no surprise for us because we all knew how good a player he was but he just had to realise it himself.
“I'm chuffed for him, I really am. We go back to the 1980s, when I won my first tournament in Scotland in 1988. I played with Roger in the last round and I think he shot a 42 on the front nine and came back in 30 to come third. I've played with him many times down the years.
“Those first three days last week, 14 under par was a phenomenal score because everybody thought around one or two under would win. The wind didn’t blow as much as we thought but it was still an unbelievable score.
“We’ve got some great players in Europe and some who have won over there so it will give a boost to all of us for Europe because we know how good Roger is, but we know we can compete as well so it’s just a case of if it’s your week, it’s your week.”
Costantino Rocca, three-time Ryder Cup player (two wins) and five-time European Tour winner:
“He’s a lucky guy for his first European Senior Tour win to come at the US Senior PGA Championship! He deserved it because he played a really good game and I hope he has a chance to go on and win more, in America as well as Europe.
“It’s good for us but the most important thing is it’s good for him. He’s playing three years on the Senior Tour and got very close a few times, with just a missed putt or a bad drive the difference. He didn’t win a lot of tournaments through the years but he has a great game.”
Des Smyth, two-time Ryder Cup player and eight-time European Tour winner:
“We’re all absolutely thrilled. Roger always had the big game and he’s been a great player but has always been the bridesmaid, he’ll admit that himself. We’d often wish we had a game like Roger but he’s jumped the big fence all in one go so we’re all thrilled for him.
“When Roger is in the mood, he can be scary good. He’s a big ball-hitter, he hits it very straight and if he starts holing putts, you wonder how you’ll beat him. For whatever reason and only he can tell you, he hasn’t fully delivered on the talent he’s got. He had a win and he’s performed really well over the years but this has done it for him. It’ll clear his head and he’ll realise what a good player he is.
“From a European Senior Tour perspective, it’s a great boost. Be under no illusions that what he did last week was truly sensational. They said last week that if you shoot four or five under you’d be in the top ten – he got to 17 under at one point which is almost stupid, it’s so good. That’s how good he played.”Gary Wolstenholme, 2011 Senior Tour Rookie of the Year and 2012 Mallorca Open Senior champion:
“With everything that happened last year, to come out this year and knock ‘em dead - at one stage he was nine ahead, that’s the biggest procession you’re ever going to get – we’re all just delighted.
“He’s a lovely man and he’s just a quality player. A lot of people, including myself, have wondered how he didn’t just go out and slaughter them on tour to start with, and his game is made for America.
“To see Roger do that has given a lot of people on the European Senior Tour a jolt, where we say to ourselves, ‘we can do this’. It’s been great for the tour because we have a current Major Champion.Hopefully that will encourage more people to develop tournaments and attract new sponsors.
“It’s not just down to Roger now. It’s down to the rest of us to raise our game so that we can go out and do something similar. It’s inspiration that you need sometimes and what he’s done is inspirational.“It was windy the first day and hard at Harbor Shores and you had to putt from off the green sometimes so I think it did suit the Europeans but they set the course up brilliantly well and he could reach every green in less than regulation so that helped him get off to a flyer. I think his first round was without doubt the reason he won because it was difficult conditions.