England’s Mark James and Sam Torrance of Scotland, the last two European Ryder Cup Captains, are among 17 European Seniors Tour Members who will tee up in the 65th Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky, this week for the first Senior Major of the season.
James, Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain at Brookline in 1999 and Torrance, who led the European side to victory at the De Vere Belfry in 2002, will be making their debuts in the event alongside other European Ryder Cup players Eamonn Darcy and Des Smyth of Ireland, Spain’s Manuel Piñero.
The European Seniors Tour challenge will be spearheaded by Australian Terry Gale, the current leader of the Order of Merit, and last year’s Number One Carl Mason of England. Both have already won this year, Gale capturing the Bosch Italian Seniors Open while Mason launched the season with victory in Tobago Plantations Seniors Open, his fourth consecutive victory.
England’s Bob Cameron, winner of the Open de France Seniors, and South African Gavan Levenson, winner of the DGM Barbados Open, will be making their debuts in the Championship as will rookies Mark McNulty of Ireland and England’s David J Russell.
Scot Bill Longmuir, second to Mason in the Order of Merit in his rookie season last year, is also in the field alongside other Seniors Tour winners John Chillas of Scotland, Chile’s Guillermo Encina, Australian David Good and David Oakley of America, whose brother Pete, also a European Seniors Tour Member, will also be competing having qualified as a PGA club professional.
The 65th Senior PGA Championship, the oldest event in senior golf established in 1937, features its largest-ever field of 156, which include defending champion John Jacobs of Ameirca and 11 past Senior PGA Champions. The field also includes 24 Major Champions in the field have combined to win 75 major titles.