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BlogSenior PGA Championship Preview and Picks

Senior PGA Championship

May 23 – 26, 2013

Bellerive C.C.

St. Louis, Mo.

Par: 71 / Yardage: 6,959

Purse: $2 million

with $378,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Roger Chapman

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 47 of the Top 50 on this year’s  PGA Tour money list.  The players that decided not to play are Tom Lehman and Corey Pavin, who are playing at Colonial instead and Larry Nelson.

 

The field includes nine past champions: Roger Chapman (2012), Tom Watson (2011 & ’01), Michael Allen (2009), Jay Haas (2008 & ’06), Denis Watson (2007), Mike Reid (2005), Hale Irwin (2004, ’98, ’97 & ’96), John Jacobs (2003) and Tom Wargo (1993).

 

The field includes all eight players that have won on the Champions Tour this year: John Cook (Mitsubishi Electric Championship), Rocco Mediate (Allianz Championship), Bernhard Langer (ACE Group Classic & Greater Gwinnet), David Frost (Toshiba Classic), Michael Allen (Misissippi Gulf Resort), Jeff Sluman (Liberty Mutual Legends), Brad Faxon (Liberty Mutual Legends) and Esteban Toledo (Insperity Championship).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in Senior PGA Championship field is our performance chart listed by average finish.

 

One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at Senior PGA Championship in the last five years or check out our brand new and sortable 8-year glance of the Senior PGA Championship.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Senior PGA Championship

Player Insperity Championship Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf Greater Gwinnett Championship Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic Toshiba Classic ACE Group Classic Allianz Championship
Esteban Toledo
(275.33 pts)
Win
(150)
T4
(53.33)
T7
(36.67)
T18
(10.67)
T6
(20)
T36
(4.67)
DNP
 
Bernhard Langer
(242.33 pts)
T25
(25)
T14
(24)
Win
(100)
2
(33.33)
T20
(10)
Win
(50)
DNP
 
Gene Sauers
(230.67 pts)
T2
(100)
T2
(66.67)
T17
(22)
T3
(30)
DNP
 
T14
(12)
DNP
 
Jeff Sluman
(207.33 pts)
T8
(50)
Win
(100)
T7
(36.67)
T27
(7.67)
T14
(12)
T62
(1)
DNP
 
Mike Goodes
(207 pts)
T2
(100)
T2
(66.67)
T17
(22)
T48
(2.67)
T39
(3.67)
T14
(12)
DNP
 
Michael Allen
(181.67 pts)
T16
(34)
T4
(53.33)
T13
(24.67)
Win
(50)
T8
(16.67)
T41
(3)
DNP
 
Jay Haas
(180.33 pts)
T6
(60)
T4
(53.33)
T21
(19.33)
T18
(10.67)
T3
(30)
T29
(7)
DNP
 
Mark Calcavecchia
(180 pts)
T4
(80)
T4
(53.33)
T5
(46.67)
T58
(1.67)
T72
(0)
WD
(-1.67)
DNP
 
Tom Pernice, Jr.
(165.33 pts)
T40
(10)
T16
(22.67)
T2
(66.67)
T3
(30)
T32
(6)
T3
(30)
DNP
 
Mark O’Meara
(163 pts)
T8
(50)
T4
(53.33)
T30
(13.33)
T6
(20)
T26
(8)
T7
(18.33)
DNP
 
Fred Funk
(153.67 pts)
T25
(25)
T2
(66.67)
T7
(36.67)
T48
(2.67)
T14
(12)
T18
(10.67)
DNP
 
Peter Senior
(144 pts)
T20
(30)
T4
(53.33)
T36
(9.33)
T6
(20)
T3
(30)
T60
(1.33)
DNP
 
Loren Roberts
(137.33 pts)
T4
(80)
T29
(14)
T70
(0.67)
T44
(3)
T39
(3.67)
T46
(2.67)
2
(33.33)
Jay Don Blake
(126.67 pts)
T16
(34)
T16
(22.67)
T26
(16)
T12
(12.67)
T26
(8)
2
(33.33)
DNP
 
Brad Faxon
(120.67 pts)
77
(0)
Win
(100)
T30
(13.33)
T70
(0.33)
T76
(0)
T29
(7)
DNP
 
Kenny Perry
(114.33 pts)
T25
(25)
T2
(66.67)
T36
(9.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T10
(13.33)
DNP
 
Dan Forsman
(113 pts)
T8
(50)
T16
(22.67)
T30
(13.33)
T27
(7.67)
T8
(16.67)
T46
(2.67)
DNP
 
Hal Sutton
(106.67 pts)
T14
(36)
T4
(53.33)
T52
(4.67)
T18
(10.67)
T72
(0)
T53
(2)
DNP
 
Gil Morgan
(105 pts)
T43
(9)
T16
(22.67)
T36
(9.33)
DNP
 
T32
(6)
T26
(8)
Win
(50)
Steve Elkington
(104.67 pts)
T16
(34)
T12
(25.33)
T45
(5.33)
T10
(13.33)
T8
(16.67)
T20
(10)
DNP
 
David Eger
(102 pts)
T8
(50)
T12
(25.33)
T36
(9.33)
T18
(10.67)
T39
(3.67)
T66
(0.67)
T52
(2.33)
Rocco Mediate
(101 pts)
WD
(-5)
T12
(25.33)
T24
(17.33)
T6
(20)
T6
(20)
T5
(23.33)
DNP
 
Tom Purtzer
(100 pts)
T25
(25)
T4
(53.33)
T47
(5.33)
67
(0.67)
T76
(0)
T51
(2.33)
T10
(13.33)
Fred Couples
(99.33 pts)
DNP
 
T4
(53.33)
DNP
 
T12
(12.67)
2
(33.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Tom Watson
(98.67 pts)
DNP
 
T4
(53.33)
T17
(22)
DNP
 
5
(23.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Senior PGA Championship

Player Insperity Championship Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf Greater Gwinnett Championship Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic Toshiba Classic ACE Group Classic Allianz Championship
Rick Karbowski
(0 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T74
(0)
Mike Hulbert
(0.67 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T66
(0.67)
DNP
 
Vicente Fernandez
(0.67 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T65
(0.67)
Des Smyth
(1.33 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T61
(1.33)
Mark James
(2.33 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T52
(2.33)
Joel Edwards
(2.67 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T48
(2.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Jerry Pate
(2.67 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T46
(2.67)
Tom Wargo
(3 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T41
(3)
Joey Sindelar
(3 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T41
(3)
DNP
 
Anders Forsbrand
(4.67 pts)
T74
(0)
DNP
 
T60
(2.67)
T54
(2)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

For the average fantasy golf player the Champions Tour is not on their radar screen.  It’s more of tour about a celebration of golfers that are past their prime  and have another avenue to compete outside of the PGA TOur.  So the tour is made up of events that have no cuts, are played on easier courses and only go 54 holes.

There are however five majors and the Charles Schwab Cup Championship that are a step above the run of the mill Champions Tour event.  Of the six important events, three are considered classics because of their history, the U.S. Senior Open, the Senior British Open and the Senior PGA.  These three are played on great courses that are set up in a manner making them more challenging and over 72 holes.  What you see is a different level of golf at these events, in which a different level of players find there competitive nature coming out more as the feeling is these events are important and not the regular run of the mill event.

Many may not know it but this weeks Senior PGA Championship is the oldest event on the Champions Tour, which really became a tour in 1980, a couple of years after the Legends of Golf found success in showcasing players over 50.  The Senior PGA Championship was first played in 1937 and was held at Augusta National, the site of the Masters.  For two years it was played there before moving to Florida were it was played until 2001 when it was decided to take the championship on the road.  Since then it’s been played on the best courses in the country.  This year it’s going to Bellerive C.C., a course outside of St. Louis which has held the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

 

Things you need to know about this week at the Senior PGA Championship

 

This is the first of the really important events of the year for the Champions Tour.  It will be played at Bellerive C.C. and set up in a championship manner  with rough, hard greens and challenges not found on the Champions Tour.  The course was the site of the 1992 PGA Championship which was won by Nick Price who isn’t playing this week.  But John Cook, Jim Gallagher, Jr. and Gene Sauers who were runner-ups are playing.  The same with with Dan Forsman and Russ Cochran who were T7th, they are returning, which should give them a bit of an advantage.

The course was the site of the U.S. Senior Open in 2004. It was won by Peter Jacobsen with Hale Irwin finishing 2nd and Tom Kite and Jay Haas coming in third.  In looking at the top four finishes and even going down to the top-25, you see a lot of marquee names which give you a hint that those that have played well in regular majors will do well this week.

 

The course also held the BMW Championship in 2008, but only Bart Bryant (T28th), Kenny Perry (T44th), Andres Romero (T44th) played in that event and is in the field this year.

 

Last but not least, find it hard to believe that Tom Lehman and Corey Pavin took a pass at playing in this championship and play at Colonial.  Of course we don’t know the true reasons, maybe both have great memories of Colonial and have lot’s of friends in the area.  Could also be because they don’t like Bellerive, but frankly they aren’t going to win at Colonial and have a terrific chance in the Senior PGA.  Oh well to each his own.

 

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Senior PGA Championship:

Key stat for the winner:

  • Since the field is so strong, this makes it easier for a non-marquee player to win this event.  In looking for a winner there will be a couple things that we have to look at.  The most important fact is to see which players are in good forum based on play over the last couple of weeks. On the new Golfstats we have the who’s hot and who’s not list in which you can see who has played the best in the last five Champions Tour events over the last eight weeks.  This is an important list because it shows who is playing well and who isn’t.  The second important item to realize, this isn’t a regular tour event and the course is more demanding. So in picking a winner, look at those that have done good in Champions Tour events like the Senior PGA, U.S. Senior Open and the Senior British Open.
  • Putting is going to be very important at Bellerive, the greens are large and have a lot of undulation in them. Lag putting is going to be very important to avoid three putting.
  • Course will be long and should favor the long hitter, off the fairways will have rough but the question will be how long the PGA Tour will allow it to grow and how tough they really want to make the course.
  • Looking at past winners at Bellerive, Gary Player, Nick Price, Peter Jacobsen and Camilo Villegas they are some of the game’s great shot makers so the course will favor those
  • So what will it take to win? Think of this event now as similar to a major in which this course is a new adventure.  This brings into play a lot more players as they try to deal with the learning curve of the course which gives the players less time to learn what Bellerive is about.  So look for a shot maker that can avoid three putting on big greens.
  • Lastly and more importantly Bellerive was hit by 9/11 when the American Express was suppose to be played there in 2001 and wasn’t able to host.  Could more bad luck hit Bellerive this time around?  When the BMW championship was there in 2008, remnants of Hurricane Gustav pelted Bellerive with rain in excess of three inches, postponing the first round until Friday.  They were able to get the event done, but the course didn’t play like officials wanted it to.  This year the event could experience unstable spring weather.  There is going to be bad weather on Tuesday and Wednesday with the weather getting better for Thursday’s first round, but after that the bad weather builds up and it could be messy by the weekend.

Who to watch for at the Senior PGA Championship

Best Bets:

Peter Senior

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T4 T5 T11

Has knocked on the door and is close to coming through. This guy can really play, just look at how he has won the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship over 50, yes he could take this title.

Fred Couples

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T12 T2

Always your top pick, the weather will be important as if it’s warm it will help his back. On paper he is the best on the Champions Tour, but things beyond his control could doom him.

Bernhard Langer

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T4 T23 T17 2

Always knocks on the door at Champions majors, is the tour’s only multiple winner and someone that will be contending on Sunday.

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Best of the rest:

Jeff Sluman

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T44 T18 T21 T5 T9

Another of those that plays well on tough courses, which will give him an advantage.

Rocco Mediate

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Playing in this event for the first time, has had a great start to his Senior career and you have to think he can win a Senior major.

Kenny Perry

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
9 T22

Have no idea on why he hasn’t dominated this tour, he played well on the PGA Tour in his late 40s but when he joined the Champions Tour it was like he stopped working on his game and has just floated through.

Solid contenders

Michael Allen

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
11 T11 T11 Win

Always a guy you don’t think of but his record on tough courses on the Champions Tour shows that he is someone you have to think of. Did win this event back in 2009.

Mark Calcavecchia

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T12 T13

This guy has the game and could do it, his problem is nerves so he needs to either back into a win or be able to control those nerves.

Tom Pernice, Jr.

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T38 T18

Could be the dark horse of the field. He can win this and play well, but he has to be playing better than he has in the last month.

Long shots that could come through:

Tom Watson

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
Win T18 4 T16 T52 T23 T27 T4 T17 T18 Win

Many will think that he is past his prime, but he won this event two years ago and still has the game.

Steve Pate

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
10 T8

He has been in the top-ten twice, the only question is if he can handle the pressure if leading

Esteban Toledo

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Playing in this event for the first time, he is hot and really wants to dominate. Look for him to do well

Duffy Waldorf

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Another first-timer, he too has been playing well and could surprise a lot of folks

Lightning can’t strike three times

Roger Chapman

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
Win T27 T69 T59

I am still shocked that Roger has been able to get it going not once, but twice to win the two most prestige events on the Champions Tour. Wisdom says that he should be a lock to contend, but on the Champions Tour he has only had one top-ten other than those two wins, so I just can’t see it happening. Come on Roger, make me look bad.

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