The U.S. Senior Open Championship takes place at The Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado this week and we’ve taken a look at five things you need to know ahead of the tournament.
The oldest champion
With victory at Prairie Dunes Golf Club in 2006, Allen Doyle became the oldest-ever winner of the U.S. Senior Open. The American – who won the previous year’s tournament at NCR Country Club – was 57 years, 11 months and 14 days old when he triumphed in Kansas. The youngest champion is Dale Douglass, who was aged 50 years, three months and 24 days when he defeated Gary Player by one shot in 1986.
In addition to becoming a Senior Major Champion, the winner of the U.S. Senior Open is rewarded with a spot in the following year’s U.S. Open Championship. Seven men have won both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open, including Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. The best result by a U.S. Senior Open Champion in the following U.S. Open belongs to Peter Jacobsen, who finished tied 15th in 2005 after his one-shot victory over Hale Irwin the year before.
There have been just three European winners of the U.S. Senior Open, all within the last six years. Two-time Masters Tournament Champion Bernhard Langer was the first European victor in 2010, followed by Englishman Roger Chapman two years later. 2010 Ryder Cup winning captain Colin Montgomerie is the most recent European U.S. Senior Open Champion, beating Gene Sauers in a play-off in 2014.
Only three men have successfully defended the U.S. Senior Open, the most recent of which was Doyle in 2005 and 2006. The American defeated Loren Roberts and D. A. Weibring by one shot to win his first U.S. Senior Open and then finished two shots clear of Tom Watson a year later. The two other successful defences occurred in the 1980s, the first of which came courtesy of American Miller Barber. He won his first title in 1982 and then claimed back-to-back U.S. Senior Opens in the 1984 and 1985 editions. Nine-time Major Champion Gary Player then won successive titles in 1987 and 1988, the first of which stands as the joint-largest margin of victory in tournament history. The South African won by six shots over American Doug Sanders.
Young at heart
The U.S. Senior Open may only be for those aged 50 or above, but that’s not quite the case for the name of the trophy. Players compete for the Francis Ouimet Trophy, who is the second-youngest U.S. Open Champion of all-time. Ouimet was 20 years, four months and 12 days old at the time of his 1913 victory at The Country Club, Massachusetts. The American was also the first amateur to win the U.S. Open when he defeated big-name Brits Ted Ray and Harry Vardon — who had already won a combined seven Major Championships — in an 18-hole, three-way play-off. Ouimet was helped to victory by caddy Eddie Lowery, who was just ten years old at the time.