Chapman set to defend his senior crown

News-DemocratApril 22, 2013 

— Until a about a year ago, there were not that many people outside of Ascot, Berkshire, England or the world of professional golf had heard the name Roger Chapman.

Two memorable weeks in Michigan changed that -- and Chapman's life -- forever.

A member of the European Senior Tour, Chapman won the first captured the 2012 Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich. in May. Less then two months later across the state at Indianwood Country Club in Lake Orion, Chapman gathered his second major title -- the Senior U.S. Open.

Suddenly the 53-year-old Chapman was mentioned in the same breath as Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin and Gary Player as the only players to win both the Senior PGA and Senior U.S. Open in the same year.

"The year 2012 was a special year for my family and for me. I went to Benton Harbor with no thoughts about winning the event. I had played only one event on the European Senior Tour all year," Chapman said. "It was just a wonderful experience. Then to come back and win the Senior U.S. Open at another wonderful course -- Indianwood -- a few weeks later was very special to me as well. It proved that I wasn't a one-time wonder.''

Chapman was in St. Louis on Monday to get his first look at Bellerive Country Club where he will defend his title at the 2013 Senior PGA Championship, which will be held May 21-26.

Chapman was part of 2013 Senior PGA Media day, which included several political, cooperate and golf dignitaries from throughout the St. Louis area.

Chapman said Bellerive will provide a great venue for the field which includes players from 15 countries and 33 states.

"I played it today and Bellerive is an excellent course. With the weather in the past week, its not been a great time for it but I'm sure that when its time for the tournament in a couple of weeks, it will be in tip-top condition,'' Chapman said. "I know my counterparts on the Senior European Tour are champing at the bit because they haven't played since last December.''

Championship director Jason Mengel said on Monday that tickets for the Senior PGA Championship remain on sale.

Tickets are available Online at spga2013.com or by phone at 1-800-PGA-GOLF (742-4653).

In addition, juniors (17 and under) will be admitted into the championship grounds with an accompanying ticketed adult. Each adult will be allowed up to four junior admissions daily at no additional charge.

Also admitted free will be members and retired members of the armed forces. Upon arrival, military personnel must go to the admissions and will call office to present their military identification in exchange for daily tickets. Identification must be presented in order to receive tickets.

The field includes many of the legends of professional golf including former champions and local favorites Tom Wargo of Centralia, Belleville native Jay Haas, who won the event in 2006 and 2008, four-time champion Hale Irwin of St. Louis and former No. 1 player in the world Tom Watson, of Kansas City, who won in 2001 and 2011.

Other top players include Vijay Singh, fan favorites Fred Couples and Rocco Mediate, Steve Elkington and former Masters champion Bernhard Langer.

Among the dignitaries on hand as part of Media Day was Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

"You see great local ties from both sides of river and throughout the ShowMe state for this event. We are very proud to be hosting the Senior PGA Championship," Nixon said. "We are also deeply appreciative of cooperate sponsorship that we've gotten here. I can not say enough about the people who have taken time to raise money for charity surrounding this event.

"The PGA has been a true leader in this country leaving towns better then they found them."

The 2013 Senior PGA Championship is also a history making one for Bellerive Country Club, which become only the third course in the nation to host all four traveling men's professional major championships.

Bellerive hosted the 1965 U.S. Open which was won by Gary Player, the 1992 PGA won by Nick Price and the 2004 Senior U.S. Open, which was won by Peter Jacobsen.

Bellerive has also been selected to host the 100th PGA Championship in 2018.

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