ST. LOUIS — Reigning Senior PGA champion Roger Chapman got another honor in a year full of accolades Tuesday, when he hosted the Champions Dinner, which is held annually prior to the tournament.
Chapman, a journeyman who had never won in the United States, shocked the golf world last May when he won the Senior PGA title. Less than two months later, Chapman pulled another surprise when he won the U.S. Senior Open.
On Tuesday, with golf legends Tom Watson and Hale Irwin among those on hand, Chapman was left speechless again.
"It was a great honor for me to have the past champions and PGA champions there," Chapman said. "It was a special, special night for me and for my wife Kathy to be there, to be part of it, because she wasn't there when I won it, made for just a fantastic evening.
"I keep using the word special, but it's an incredible year that I've had. You can't put it into words sometimes. But dreams really do come true.''
Chapman is among the 156 players who will tee off today in the first round of the 2013 Senior PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club.
Among the top players in the world 50-and-older who are competing this week are Champions Tour leading money winner Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin, Tom Watson, Esteban Toledo, Kenny Perry, Peter Jacobsen, Tom Kite and 2009 champion Michael Allen.
The 74th Senior PGA Championship begins at 7:15 a.m. Thursday, when St. Louis professional Brian Fogt, Tim Thelan and Kirk Triplett tee off on Hole No. 1 at Bellerive Country Club.
The final tee-off time on the first two days is set for 2:30 p.m.
Belleville native Jay Haas tees off at 7:55 a.m. Thursday and will be paired during the first two rounds with Bill Vucinich and former U.S. Open champion Tom Kite. The threesome will tee off at 1:05 p.m. on No. 10 on Friday.