Roger Chapman begins his bid to retain the John Jacobs Trophy this week by attempting to successfully defend his title at the US Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid – the tournament which, 12 months ago, launched his fairy-tale 2012 season.
The Englishman, who also won the US Senior Open last year, heads the 28 European Senior Tour members crossing the Atlantic to Bellerive Country Club, in St Louis, Missouri, for the curtain-raiser to the 2013 Senior Tour season.
Chapman made history at Harbor Shores in Michigan last year, when he became the first European to win the US Senior PGA Championship since Jock Hutchison in 1947.
He returned to Michigan two months later to win the US Senior Open, becoming just the fourth player after Gary Player (1987), Jack Nicklaus (1991) and Hale Irwin (1998) to capture both titles in the same season.
Now Chapman has the opportunity to emulate the latter of that illustrious trio once again, with Irwin the last player to successfully defend the US Senior PGA Championship in 1998.
“The year 2012 was a special year for my family and for me,” said Chapman. “I went to Benton Harbor with no thoughts about winning the event. It was just a wonderful experience. Then to come back and win the US Senior Open at another wonderful course – Indianwood – a few weeks later was very special to me as well. It proved I wasn’t a one-time wonder.”
Chapman went on to top the 2012 European Senior Tour Order of Merit, and there will be plenty of Senior Tour members in the field at Bellerive Country Club with ambitions of succeeding him not only as US Senior PGA Champion, but also as winner of the John Jacobs Trophy.
That list includes former Masters Champions Bernhard Langer and Sandy Lyle, both of whom made the cut at Augusta National last month.
Langer, who currently leads the US Champions Tour Money List, is bidding for his first US Senior PGA Championship title, having captured The Senior Open Championship and US Senior Open in consecutive weeks in 2010.
Other Senior Tour members in the field include former Ryder Cup Captains Mark James and Ian Woosnam; Tom Watson, the 2001 and 2011 Champion and 2014 United States Ryder Cup Captain; and Barry Lane, who finished runner up to Chapman in the 2012 Order of Merit.
Australian Terry Price, winner of the Pon Senior Open in 2012, and Englishman Philip Golding play in the Championship for the first time, while, New Zealander Greg Turner, the four-time European Tour champion, embarks on his Senior Tour career after turning 50 in February.
Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said: “With such a significant number of European Senior Tour Members participating in the US Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, our hopes are high for one of them to emulate the remarkable achievement of Roger Chapman in 2012.
“We look forward to a fantastic week at Bellerive Country Club, and to the season ahead.”