Colin Montgomerie (Getty Images)
Each year the European Senior Tour welcomes a new crop of notable 50 year olds, and the 2013 season will continue the trend, with a number of former European Tour winners and Ryder Cup players ‘coming of age’.
Colin Montgomerie, the eight-time Harry Vardon Trophy winner and 2010 European Ryder Cup winning Captain, celebrates his 50th birthday on June 23, meaning he is eligible for the Senior Tour in time for The 2013 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, which takes place at Royal Birkdale from July 25-28.
Montgomerie will be hoping to follow the example of former European Ryder Cup Captains Mark James, Bernhard Langer, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam, who have all enjoyed success on the Senior Tour in recent years.
The 31-time European Tour winner will be joined in the Senior Tour ranks by some other notable rookies in 2013.
New Zealander Greg Turner celebrated his 50th birthday on February 21 and will be hoping to add Senior Tour success to his four titles on The European Tour.
Turner captured his maiden title in the 1986 Scandinavian Masters and went on to win the Italian Open in 1993, the Turespana Open de Baleares in 1995 and the British Masters in 1997.
He was tied seventh in The 1996 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes, and the following year he achieved his best finish of 17th on The European Tour Order of Merit.
Englishman Michael McLean turns 50 on March 6, meaning he will also be eligible for the start of the new Senior Tour season.
McLean won the 1990 Portuguese Open and recorded his best finish on The European Tour Order of Merit a year later, ending the 1991 season in 20th position. He also won the former Mauritius Open in 1994 and 2000, played at Constance Bell Mare Plage which now hosts the Senior Tour’s finale, the MCB Tour Championship.
Also looking forward to his 50th birthday next month is Paul Way, a three-time winner on The European Tour and a former Ryder Cup player.
The Englishman won the KLM Open in his rookie season on The European Tour in 1982 and represented European in both the 1983 and 1985 Ryder Cups, winning six of his matches, halving one and losing two.
He claimed the biggest victory of his career in the 1985 PGA Championship, defeating Sandy Lyle in a play-off at Wentworth Club, and won the European Open in 1987.
Way’s compatriot Jamie Spence comes of age on May 26, the same day as the final round of the US Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.
Spence won the European Masters in 1992, carding a European Tour record-equalling 60 in the final round before defeating Swede Anders Forsbrand in a play-off at Crans-sur-Sierre. He also won the Moroccan Open in 2000 and currently serves on The European Tour Board of Directors.
Another Englishman on the Board of Directors, Paul Eales, turns 50 on August 2. Eales won the Extremadura Open in Spain in 1994, having previously graduated on to The European Tour from the Challenge Tour, where he won the 1991 Audi Open.
Argentine José Cóceres, winner of two European Tour titles and two US PGA Tour titles, celebrates his half-century 12 days after Eales, while former Russian Open winner Gary Emerson (September 26) and André Bossert (November 14), winner of the 1995 Cannes Open, will become eligible in the closing stages of the 2013 Senior Tour campaign.
The aforementioned players will also be joined by a trio of European Tour winners who turned 50 late in 2012: Dane Steen Tinning and Spanish pair Santiago Luna and Pedro Linhart.
Tinning made his Senior Tour debut as an invite in the MCB Tour Championship, finishing in a share of 17th position at Constance Belle Mare Plage in December.