The 2012 season proved to be an historic one for the European Senior Tour and more milestones are set to be passed in the New Year.
Double Major Champion Roger Chapman’s exploits ensured that the 2012 Senior Tour campaign will be inscribed into the golfing annals, as the 53 year old became only the fourth player after Gary Player (1987), Jack Nicklaus (1991) and Hale Irwin (1998) to capture the US Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid and the US Senior Open in the same season.
Chapman’s 2012 season earnings of €356,751 to win the Order of Merit was the second highest in Senior Tour history, behind Carl Mason’s total of €412,376 in 2007, although had his prize money from the US Senior Open counted towards the money list, he would have surpassed that figure.
Mason missed out on the chance to set another new record himself last year. The Englishman had won at least one title in the previous nine seasons on the Senior Tour (from 2003-2011), sharing the record for most consecutive years with Tommy Horton, but he could not set a new outright benchmark, with his best performance of 2012 a share of third place in The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Turnberry.
However, Mason still holds the record for most Senior Tour victories, with 25 titles overall, and his 2012 earnings of €120,103 meant he extended his margin over Horton at the top of the career money list to €875,059, with total prize money of €2,403, 565 from his decade on the Senior Tour.
With 16 players now having earned more than €1million on the career money list, several players could join the Senior Tour Millionaires’ Club in 2013, including Englishman Denis Durnian (€971,429), Spaniard Juan Quiros (€966, 939), former Ryder Cup player Gordon J Brand of England (€945,995), while former Masters Champion Ian Woosnam (€835,378) could also achieve the feat.
Irishman Des Smyth may have lost his record as the oldest winner on The European Tour to Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez in 2012, but he can set a personal record on the Senior Tour this year.
Smyth, who has won a title in each of the past three seasons including the 2012 Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters, turns 60 next month, and having won his maiden professional title in 1979, he is hoping to add another victory to his CV in 2013, meaning he will have won tournaments in his 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.
Englishman Philip Golding will be looking to build on his impressive start to life on the Senior Tour, which included a record breaking run in August. The former French Open winner posted three consecutive rounds of 64 in the final two rounds of the SSE Scottish Senior Open and the opening round of the Speedy Services Wales Senior Open, the first time that has been achieved on The European Tour, Senior Tour or Challenge Tour.
Meanwhile, the evergreen Bob Charles continues to break records and last June the 76 year old shot under his age three consecutive times in the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in Switzerland, including an incredible 66 in the opening round. The New Zealander has now shot under his age 23 times in total on the Senior Tour.
In 2013 there will another milestone for The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, which visits Royal Birkdale for the first time. This is expected to be marked by a debut appearance for 2010 European Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie, winner of a record eight Harry Vardon Trophies on The European Tour.