Senior PGA Championship Winners and History
Inaugurated in 1937 at Augusta National Golf Club, the Senior PGA Championship was organized by none other than Bobby Jones. In the first competition, Jock Hutchison came away with the winner’s share of the $2,000 purse (about $30,000 in today’s money).
The PGA Senior Championship moved from Georgia to Florida in 1940, hoping for better weather. Sarasota hosted two years, and Ft. Myers another before World War II interrupted play. Following the war, the Championship was moved to Dunedin, Florida. The PGA eventually would move its offices there.
From 1945 to 2000, PGA National in Dunedin and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida was the event’s semi-permanent home. Since 2001, however, the event has been on the road: Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, NJ (2001); Firestone Country Club, Akron, Ohio (2002); Aronimink Golf Club, Philadelphia (2003); Valhalla, Louisville, KY (2004); Laurel Valley GC, Ligonier, Pa (2005); Oak Tree GC, Edmond, OK (2006); The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island (2007); Oak Hill CC, Rochester, NY (2008); Canterbury GC, Beachwood, OH (2009) and Colorado GC, Parker, Colo. (2010). The tournament returned to Valhalla in 2011. I
To qualify, players must be at least 50 years old. Other Eligibility requirements follow:
- Any past winner of the Senior PGA Championship
- Any past winner of a regular major championship
- Any past member of the United States Ryder Cup team
- The top 15 finishers in the previous year’s Senior PGA Championship
- The top 50 on the Champions Tour money list (previous year and current year)
- Any winner of a Champions Tour event since the last Senior PGA Championship
- The top 35 finishers from the Callaway Golf Senior PGA Professional National Championship
- Any winner of the previous five U.S. Senior Opens
- The winner of the last Senior British Open
- The top eight players from the previous year’s European Seniors Tour Order of Merit
- The top four players from the previous year’s Japanese Seniors Tour Order of Merit
- A one-time exemption for those who have just turned 50 and have won a PGA Tour, Japan Golf Tour, or European Tour event in the last 5 years
- The top 30 on the career money list, both Champions Tour and combined Champions Tour and PGA Tour
- A one-time exemption for former PGA Professional National Champions turning 50
- Invitations for those not meeting criteria above also are made
A list of Senior PGA Championship winners follows:
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5 Major Tournaments of The Senior Golf Tour | Tour Champions
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Table of Contents
The PGA Tour Champions (commonly known as the Champions Tour) is a senior golf tour specifically made for golfers above the age of 50. The Professional Golfers Association officially founded the tour over 40 years ago in 1980.
The beauty of golf is that it ages like fine wine. You’re never too old to play golf! Even if you want to play in a USGA Senior Amateur Championship .
This article goes in-depth about the senior golf tour five major tournaments. It highlights renowned championships, golfer stats, and a few fun facts. However, for a more detailed review of the PGA TOUR Champions, you’ll want to read our ultimate guide .
Origin & History of the Senior Golf Tour
The Senior PGA Championship has been unofficially active since 1937 as a high-profile tournament. It was exclusive for golfers above the age of 50.
However, in 1978, a profitable tournament between teams of the best senior golfers called the ‘Legends of Golf’ gave birth to the idea of an official senior golf tour.
The PGA formally established the ‘Senior PGA Tour’ in 1980. This senior tour was designed for golfers aged 50 and above to showcase their talent.
The 1980 tour consisted of only four events. For comparison, the 2021 tour consisted of 25 events. A lot has changed over the years!
The total prize money in 1980 was $475,000, which would be worth $1,707,901 today.
The next ten years, from 1980-1990, saw a considerable increase in the popularity of the senior tournament. The 1990 season consisted of thirty-eight official events with four major tournaments.
The entire prize money for the 1990 season was a whopping $17.8 million. In 2022, this prize money would be worth around $40,349,753.63 !
Fun Fact: Lee Trevino won 7 tournaments in the 1990 senior golf tour season. The most during the season.
Evolution of the PGA Tour Champions Name
In 2002, the tour was renamed the ‘Champions Tour’ till the 2015 season. The name PGA Tour Champions was adopted for the 2016 tour and onwards.
Qualifying & Playing on the Senior Golf Tour
Competitors in the senior golf tour have to play multiple tournaments throughout the season. These events are usually played over three rounds or 54 holes.
However, the five major championships of the tour are played over four rounds (72 holes) and have a 36-hole cut. Playing an additional round ensures bringing the best talent to the top of the standings.
Fun Fact: The average male golfer is estimated to hit a 219-yard drive. While the Senior Golf Tour’s average driving distance in 2022 was 282.0 yards . The longest drive of the tour was 308.8 yards by Padraig Harrington.
Senior Tour Age
With age comes wisdom. And the opportunity to qualify for the senior golf tour!
Here are a few requirements to qualify for the PGA Tour Champions:
- The Senior Tour age requirement is 50 years old minimum.
- Compete and qualify in the 72-hole Regional Qualifying Stage.
- All successful qualifiers and exempt players must come in the top 12 of the Final Qualifying Stage between 78 golfers.
Spots in the Senior Golf Tour
Understanding the qualification system of the PGA Tour Champions is complicated, and hardly anyone understands it, according to Bobby Clampett , a professional Golf player, and analyst.
PGA Champions from previous years make up 30 of the 81 players on the field. Another 30 spots are given to players in the top 70 of the PGA Tour and Tour Champions.
The rest of the players include the World Golf Hall of Fame members and winners of previous PGA tours.
Players competing in the qualifying sessions also have a few spots reserved for them.
The 5 Senior Major Golf Championships & Their Winners
The Senior Major championships are a big deal in the tour. The best of the best golfers participate in Majors. Meaning that only players that meet certain criteria are given a spot in the Major tournament.
Major champions have their names go down in history books. This is one of the reasons why golfers praise Major events.
There are five major championships in the PGA Tour Champions. These championships differ from the other tours as they are played over four rounds (as opposed to 3 in the standard events).
Here are the five majors of the PGA Tour Champions, along with their relevant winners.
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1. Senior PGA Championship
The Senior PGA Championship is the oldest of the five senior major championships. The Championship was established in 1937.
It was first played at the Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia, United States.
The event was one of the four events in the inaugural of the PGA Tours Championship in 1980. The Championship event was played in Florida in 1980. Over the next 42 years, the event has taken place on 17 different courses in various cities.
The eligibility criteria for the Senior PGA Championship are slightly different. The criterion includes:
- The previous winners of the Senior PGA Championship.
- Winners of other major tournaments are also eligible.
- Members of the Ryders Cup team and top European and Japanese Senior Tour players can also qualify.
2022 Senior PGA Championship Winner: Steven Alker won the 2022 Championship held in Michigan.
Most wins in the Senior PGA Championship: Since 1980, the record number of wins in this championship is held by Hale Irwin . Irwin claimed the trophy in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2004.
2. The Tradition
The Tradition, or the Regions Tradition , is one of the five senior major championships. This championship was established in 1989 in Arizona. In 2003 the event relocated to Oregon and has since moved to Alabama.
The event is now hosted at the Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama. where players complete four rounds on the course and play 72 holes.
The most recent event was held in 2022, marking its 30th year of play.
2022 Regions Tradition Winner: Steve Stricker took the trophy for the 2022 Tradition championship. The winner earned $375,000 for his victory in the tour.
Most wins in the Regions Tradition: The record for the most number of wins in the Tradition is held by Jack Nicklaus . Nicklaus won the championship four times: in 1990, 1991, 1995, and 1996.
3. U.S. Senior Open
The U.S. Senior Open is one of the most renowned five major championships in the PGA Tour Champions. The championship is administered by the United St ates Go lf Association . The PGA has recognized it as a major championship since its establishment.
The championship was introduced in 1980 and was one of the four events in the first PGA Tour Champions in New York. It is currently played at the Saucon Valley Country Club in Pennsylvania.
The US Senior Open is open for both amateurs and professionals. However, experienced players tend to dominate the championship, like any other.
2022 U.S. Senior Open Winner: The most recent champion is Padraig Harrington . He received $720,000 for his winning share.
Most wins in the U.S. Senior Open: The record for most wins in the event is held by Mille r Barber , who won 3 events in 1982, 1984, and 1985.
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4. Senior Players Championship
The Senior Players Championship is currently known as the Kaulig Companies Championship. It is also recognized as a major championship in the PGA Tour Champions.
The Championship was first held in 1983, 3 years after the establishment of the PGA Senior Golf Tour. It was most recently held at the Firestone Country Club in Ohio.
2022 Senior Players Championship Winner: The 2022 champion was Jerry Kelly , who received $450,000 for his victory in the event.
Most wins in the Senior Players Championship: Bernhard Langer holds the record for winning the most trophies in the Senior Players Championship. He won the majors consecutively in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
5. The Senior Open Championship
The Senior Open Championship was recognized as a major in the PGA Tour Champions much later in 2003.
The Championship was established in 1987 in the United Kingdom. Currently, it’s known as the Senior Open Championship by Rolex for sponsorship reasons.
Fun Fact: The Senior Open Championship i s the only senior major championship in the PGA seniors tour held outside the United States.
2022 Senior Open Championship by Rolex Winner: The 2022 champion for the Senior Open Championship is Darren Clarke. He earned $432,080 for winning the major title.
Most wins in the Senior Open Championship by Rolex: Bernhard Langer also holds the title for most wins in Senior Open Championship. He won the tournaments in 2010, 2014, 2017, and 2019.
Other Noteworthy Senior Tours
Everyone deserves to play competitive golf. At every stage and age.
Let’s have a look at some well-known senior tours.
Legends of the LPGA (Women’s Senior Golf Tour)
Legends of the LPGA is a women’s senior golf tour. It’s a tour of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) for women over the age of 45.
The tour was established in 2000 by 25 retired LPGA players who modeled it after the men’s senior tour.
From its initial days, the tour grew from two annual events to eleven events in 2013.
In 2017, the Senior LPGA Championship was also inaugurated. This tournament is an annual tour event alongside the Senior Women’s Open.
2022 Senior LPGA Winner: Karrie Webb won the 2022 Senior LPGA championship. She got prize money of $60,000 for her win.
Most wins in the Senior LPGA Championship: Trish Johnson holds the most wins in the Senior LPGA Championship. She won the championship twice in 2017 and 2021.
Senior Amateur Golf Tour
The Senior Amateur Golf Tour was established in 1999 for amateur players above the age of 50.
It’s open to play for golfers of all skill levels. The only requirement is to be above the age of 50 and get a membership.
Players can get a membership to play in their local flights. Membership cards cost between $85 to $100 annually. The price variation depends on your location.
Moreover, you’ll need to pay a tournament fee to enter each tournament. The price again varies on your location but ranges from $65 to $100.
Note: This price includes your green fee, golf cart, and range balls. The winning prize is also calculated from the tournament fee.
Players earn points by regularly playing in their local flights.
Players can then compete in stroke-play tournaments locally. The tour concludes with a National Tour Championship.
Top amateur players from across the country can compete with each other for the title. The golfers need a set number of points to qualify for the National Championship.
The Sunbelt Senior Golf Tour
The Sunbelt Senior Golf Tour was one of the most recognized golf tours to prepare yourself for the PGA Tour Champions or the European Senior Tour. Although no longer active, this Senior Golf Tour allowed golfers ages 49 and above to experience a competitive senior golf tournament beforehand.
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Senior Golf Tour Final Thoughts
So that’s a wrap on Senior Golf Tour Major Tournaments. This series of tournaments is truly an incredible offering for golfers above 50.
If you enjoy reading about the senior golf tour events, you may also enjoy reading some of our “what’s in the bag” articles listed below.
What are the 5 senior majors?
The five senior majors on the PGA Tour Champions are the Senior PGA Championship, The Tradition (Regions Tradition), U.S. Senior Open, The Senior Players Championship, and the Senior Open Championship.
What Age for the Senior PGA Tour?
The Senior Tour age requirement is to be at least 50 years old.
What age is senior LPGA?
Legends of the LPGA is the official senior tour of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. You must be 45 years old at a minimum to be eligible.
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History of the PGA
On Jan. 17, Rodman Wanamaker hosts a luncheon at the invitation of his business group, the Taplow Club, in Wanamaker’s Store in New York City. The agenda: to discuss forming a national association of golfers similar to the British PGA. Less than three months later, on April 10, the PGA of America is founded with 35 charter members. The inaugural PGA Championship is conducted Oct. 10-14, at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. From a field of 32 golfers, Jim Barnes, a native of Cornwall, England, defeats Jock Hutchison of Scotland, 1 up, in the match-play final. Wanamaker donates the trophy, a purse of $2,580 and pays the expenses of the competitors.
The PGA Championship is cancelled due to World War I. The PGA of America presents the American Red Cross with an ambulance, plus $1,000 for maintenance.
The PGA Championship resumes and Jim Barnes successfully defends his title at Engineers Country Club on Long Island, New York.
In May, the PGA of America publishes the first issue of The Professional Golfer of America, which would later be renamed PGA Magazine.
Walter Hagen becomes the first American-born PGA Champion, defeating Jim Barnes at Inwood Country Club in Far Rockaway, New York.
English Seed merchant Samuel Ryder presents the Ryder Cup as a prize for the inaugural international competition between American and British professional golfers. The United States defeats Great Britain, 9 ½ to 2 ½, at Worcester (Massachusetts) Country Club.
George Jacobus elected the first American-born president of the PGA of America.
Famed golf architect A.W. Tillinghast is hired by the PGA of America as a consultant to improve playability of the nation’s courses.
The first PGA Seniors’ Championship (since renamed the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship) is held at Augusta (Georgia) National Golf Club. Jock Hutchison wins the title among a field of 31 players.
The Ryder Cup is cancelled due to World War II. At the urging of sportswriter Grantland Rice, the PGA Hall of Fame is established, with inductees including Tommy Armour, Walter Hagen, Bob Jones, Francis Ouimet and Gene Sarazen.
In wartime, the PGA of America purchases two ambulances for the Red Cross and distributes clubs and balls at military bases. The Association also raises more than $25,000 for USO, Red Cross, Navy and Army Relief.
The PGA Championship is cancelled due to World War II.
The Ryder Cup resumes at Portland (Ore.) Golf Club when Robert Hudson, an Oregon fruit grower and canner, finances the British Team’s expenses. The U.S. wins, 11-1.
The PGA Player of the Year Award is established, with Ben Hogan earning the first award.
Horton Smith, winner of the first and third Masters Tournaments, is elected to his first term as PGA president. He serves through 1954, and would be recognized for his contributions to PGA education.
The PGA of America, in conjunction with LIFE Magazine, sponsors the first National Golf Day and raises $80,000 for charity.
The inaugural PGA Merchandise Show takes place in the parking lot of PGA National Golf Club in Dunedin, Florida, where salesmen exhibit their product lines during the Senior PGA Championship.
The PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award is established to honor PGA members for total contributions to the game. Bill Gordon of Tam O’Shanter Country Club in Chicago is the first recipient.
The PGA Championship changes from a match-play format to a stroke-play format. Dow Finsterwald, runner-up in 1957, wins by two strokes over Billy Casper at Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, Pennsylvania. CBS television purchases the broadcasting rights for the PGA Championship, making the 1958 PGA Championship the first to be broadcast on live television and radio.
The “Caucasian-only” membership clause, introduced in 1934 into the PGA bylaws, is eradicated from the PGA Constitution.
Jack Nicklaus wins his first PGA Championship.
The PGA of America assists the United Golf Association (a minority golf association) with establishment of their own constitution and bylaws.
The PGA of America celebrates its 50th Anniversary with 5,837 members.
The tournament players within the PGA of America form their own organization, subsequently named the PGA TOUR.
The first PGA Club Professional Championship (since renamed the PGA Professional Championship) is conducted in Scottsdale, Arizona. Howell Fraser of West Caldwell, New Jersey, captures the Walter Hagen Cup.
The first PGA Professional Golf Management program is established at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan.
The first Junior PGA Championship is held at Walt Disney World in Florida.
The Ryder Cup expands to include representatives from continental Europe.
Jack Nicklaus captures his fifth and final PGA Championship, tying Walter Hagen for the all-time mark.
The United States loses the Ryder Cup for the first time on American soil, at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
The inaugural PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit is conducted, in Dallas, Texas.
The PGA of America celebrates its 75th Anniversary with 12,044 members.
The PGA of America creates the Ernie Sabayrac Award for lifetime contributions to the golf industry. Sabayrac is the inaugural recipient.
The PGA of America fulfills its dream of owning and operating its own courses with the opening of PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
The PGA Learning Center (since renamed the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance) opens at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Tiger Woods wins his first of four PGA Championships.
The Ryder Cup, postponed following terrorist attacks upon America on September 11, 2011, announces plans to resume on even-numbered years. The PGA of America donates $500,000 for Sept. 11 Relief Fund, matching U.S. Ryder Cup Team donations.
The 50th PGA Merchandise Show is celebrated at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
The PGA of America launches nationwide Play Golf America initiative to support the growth of the game.
The PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame (renamed the PGA of America Hall of Fame) inducts an unprecedented 122 members featuring past PGA Presidents and PGA Golf Professional of the Year recipients.
The PGA of America celebrates its 90th anniversary at the Hotel Martinique (now Radisson Martinique) in New York City, where the PGA was founded.
Patriot Golf Day, inspired by PGA Professional Maj. Dan Rooney, is launched to raise money for educational scholarships for children of military personnel who have either perished or were severely wounded in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The PGA of America bestows posthumous membership upon African-American golf pioneers Ted Rhodes, John Shippen and Bill Spiller, who were denied the opportunity to become PGA Members during their professional careers. Posthumous honorary membership is granted to Joe Louis, the legendary world heavyweight boxing champion, who became an advocate for diversity in golf.
PGA Jr. League, employing the team concept in youth recreational golf, opens with four teams (Atlanta, Tampa, Dallas and San Diego), capped by a “World Series” in September in Atlanta. By 2017, PGA Jr. League grew to more than 3,400 teams reaching nearly 45,000 youth participants.
Rory McIlroy breaks Jack Nicklaus’ all-time victory margin record when he wins the 94th PGA Championship by eight strokes at Kiawah Island (S.C.) Golf resort’s Ocean Course.
The Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association and the PGA of America collaborate to launch the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship. The free nationwide junior golf development competition begins at Augusta National on the Sunday prior to the Masters Tournament.
KPMG, the PGA of America and the LPGA announce the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, and the creation of a multi-faceted program focused on the advancement and empowerment of women on and off the golf course. Suzy Whaley of Farmington, Connecticut, is elected PGA Secretary, becoming the first woman to attain PGA national office.
The PGA of America Centennial culminates with a celebration in New York City, birthplace of the Association, with delegates gathering at the 100th PGA Annual Meeting.
Bellerive Country Club near St. Louis hosts the 100th PGA Championship.
PGA Championship moves to May with 101st PGA Championship played at Bethpage Black.
PGA of America breaks ground on PGA Frisco.
The Golf Emergency Relief Fund was established to provide short-term financial assistance to workers in the golf industry who are the backbone of our sport and face significant financial hardship, including those suffering as a result of COVID-19 where nearly $8MM was awarded to over 5,200 golf industry workers.
In collaboration with Allied Golf Organizations and the CDC, the PGA of America led the charge on the Back2Golf initiative which helped keep Golf Open Responsibly during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
1980: PGA Tour of Champions Was Formally Founded
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The Senior PGA Championship, founded in 1937, was for many years the only high-profile tournament for golfers over 50. The idea for a senior tour grew out of a highly successful event in 1978, the Legends of Golf.
Legends of Golf featured a competition between two-member teams of some of the greatest older golfers of that day.
On This Day, in 1980 the PGA Tour of Champions… the Champions Tour Was Formally Founded
The tour was formally established in 1980 and was originally known as the Senior PGA Tour until October 2002. The tour was then renamed the Champions Tour through the 2015 season, after which the current name of “PGA Tour Champions” was adopted.
Timeline: A look at the senior circuit of golf:
1980: A meeting among Sam Snead, Bob Goalby, Don January, Julius Boros, Gardner Dickinson and Dan Sikes produces the idea of a “senior tour” and the PGA Tour soon adopts it.
Two tournaments were held, with January winning the first and Arnold Palmer winning the second in his first start as a senior.
1983: Tour grows to 18 events and more than $3 million in prize money.
1985: ESPN televises seven of 27 tournaments. Gary Player wins the first tournament he enters.
1987 : Chi Chi Rodriguez wins three consecutive tournaments, takes a break, then wins the fourth straight tournament he enters. For the first time, pro-am and tournament portions of events are separated.
1988 : Tour grows to 37 events.
1990 : Lee Trevino is rookie of the year and player of the year with seven wins and becomes the first player to win more than $1 million in a season. Jack Nicklaus wins The Tradition in his Tour debut. President George H.W. Bush plays in a Senior event pro-am, marking the first time a sitting president has participated in a PGA-sanctioned event.
1991 : Jim Albus becomes the first former club pro to win a senior major when he wins the Mazda Senior Players Championship. Jack Nicklaus completes Senior Slam by winning U.S. Senior Open.
1992 : Raymond Floyd becomes the first golfer to win a regular PGA Tour and Senior Tour event in the same year.
1995 : Hale Irwin joins the Tour.
1997 : Irwin wins nine times and becomes the first player on any tour to win more than $2 million in a season.
1998 : Irwin and Gil Morgan combine to win 13 events. Irwin earns $2.8 million on the Senior Tour, which is more than money-leader David Duval ($2.5 million) won on PGA Tour. This marks the second straight year Irwin earns more than the PGA Tour champion and the fourth time in Senior Tour history it happens. Jay Sigel sets Tour record with 9-under 27 on the front nine at Hartefeld National with an eagle and seven birdies. David Graham beats Dave Stockton in a record 10-hole sudden-death playoff in Royal Caribbean Classic.
1999 : Rookie Bruce Fleisher wins his first two starts and finishes the year with seven wins. Bob Duval wins the Emerald Coast Classic on the same day his son David wins The Players Championship.
2002 : Japan’s Seiji Ebihara ties the all-time nine-hole scoring record with an 8-under 27 on the front nine at Firestone in the final round of the Senior PGA Championship. Late in the season, the Senior Tour is renamed the Champions Tour.
2003 : The number of tournaments drops to 31. Former Illinois football star Rick George is named president of the Champions Tour. His background includes being an assistant coach, an athletic administrator at Vanderbilt and running the PGA Tour event in New Orleans.
2004 : The Golf Channel replaces CNBC as the Tour’s TV network. CNBC, which carried tournaments from 2001-03, often showed them on a tape-delayed basis.
2005 : Irwin wins the Turtle Bay Championship for the fifth time. Dana Quigley’s streak of 264 consecutive starts ends when he stays home from the Senior British Open to rest his ailing hip. The use of motorized carts is banned unless weather or course setup dictates their use. They can be used to transport golfers from green to tee if the distance is long or the route is steep.
2008-Present: Over the last ten years, Bernhard Langer has dominated the Champions Tour amassing 36 total wins, 10 in just the past two years alone. That includes ten “Senior Major Championships”, and eight out of nine leading money winner at seasons end.
With Langer’s totals up to $24,599,350, he is just a couple of wins away from overtaking Hale Irwin for PGA Champions Tour earnings all-time.
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Oldest winners on the PGA Tour
Here's a staggering stat for you...
There have been 901 events played on the PGA Tour this century. With Phil Mickelson's win in March in the WGC-Mexico Championship at age 47, it was just the 18th time in those 901 events that a player age 47 or older has won.
Here's a chart from Shotlink, courtesy of a tweet by the PGA Tour's Mike McAllister, featuring the players on that list:
Believe it or not, only the top three names on that chart -- Love, Funk and Stadler -- are on the list of "oldest winners in PGA Tour history."
RELATED: Here's a look at the 15 greatest golfers of all time
Here's a look at the seven oldest winners in PGA Tour history:
1. Sam Snead
Sam Snead, also the man who owns the record for most career PGA Tour wins with 82, is the oldest winner in Tour history. Snead was 52 years, 10 months and 8 days old when he won the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open. That victory -- the final one of Snead's illustrious Tour career -- came four years after he claimed the Tournament of Champions four years earlier.
That Greensboro victory was the eighth in that particular Tour event, which ties a PGA Tour record.
2. Art Wall
Art Wall, the 1959 Masters champion, is the second-oldest winner in PGA Tour history. In 1975, Wall won the Greater Milwaukee Open at 51 years, 7 months and 10 days -- his 14th and final Tour win. It was his first Tour win in nine years.
3. Davis Love III
Davis Love III, 1997 PGA Champion and captain of the 2012 and 2016 Ryder Cup USA teams, was 51 years, 4 months old when he won the 2015 Wyndham Championship, becoming the third-oldest winner in PGA Tour history.
That win -- the 21st of his career -- made Love the oldest PGA Tour winner in the PGA Tour Champions era (since 1980). And he joined Snead and Raymond Floyd as the only players to win PGA Tour events in four different decades.
4. Jim Barnes
Four-time major champion Jim Barnes, winner of the first PGA Championship ever played in 1916, was 51 years, 3 months and 7 days old when he won the 1937 Long Island Open. He's the fourth-oldest winner in PGA Tour history.
That final victory was the 21st of Barnes's career. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1989.
5. John Barnum
John Barnum is the PGA Tour's fifth-oldest winner in history. He was 51 years, 1 month and 5 days when he captured the 1962 Cajun Classic by a single shot over Gay Brewer.
Interestingly, that win by Barnum was also the first of his Tour career. He remains the only player to win his first PGA Tour event past the age of 50.
6. Fred Funk
The sixth-oldest winner in PGA Tour history, Fred Funk was 50 years, 8 months and 12 days old when he won the 2007 Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Funk totaled eighth victories in his PGA Tour career, most notably the 2005 Players Championship, when he became that tournament's oldest winner.
7. Craig Stadler
The seventh-oldest winner in PGA Tour history is Craig Stadler. The Walrus was 50 years, 1 month and 18 days old when he captured the 2003 B.C. Open in Endicott, N.Y. The 1982 Masters champion fired a final-round 63 to clip Alex Cjeka and Steve Lowery by a single shot.
That victory was the 13th of Stadler's PGA Tour career.
PGA of America
The PGA of America is one of the world's largest sports organizations, composed of PGA of America Golf Professionals who work daily to grow interest and participation in the game of golf.
Top 10 Golfers In the History of the Champions Tour
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Who are the best golfers in the history of the Champions Tour? Below we give you our ranking of the Top 10 players ever on the senior circuit. The Champions Tour was founded in 1980, and we consider the golfers' accomplishments only during their time playing that tour, after turning age 50. What they did on the PGA Tour doesn't figure into our rankings. So, without further adieu, here are the Top 10 Champions Tour golfers ever.
This is the easiest pick in our Top 10. Irwin , without a doubt, is the best Champions Tour golfer ever. He won 45 times, which is 16 more than anyone else. Consider this: Not only does Irwin lead with 45 Champions Tour wins, but no other golfer has even reached 30 wins. Irwin also won seven senior majors, second-best in tour history. He was Player of the Year three times, money leader three times, and scoring leader four times.
Irwin showed remarkable consistency and longevity, too. He won twice in his age-50 season (1995), and from then until 2005, when he turned 60, Irwin never won fewer than twice a year, or had fewer than 11 Top 10 finishes. That included seasons of nine wins (1997) and seven (1998). His last win was in 2007, at age 62.
Getty Images Sport/Kevin C. Cox
Langer was a model of consistency from the moment he joined the over-50 tour. In his first seven Champions Tour seasons, he led the tour in money five times — in fact, he led every year he was healthy and able to play a full schedule in that time period. In 2014, Langer became the 10th golfer to reach 20 Champions Tour wins. At the 2014 Senior British Open, Langer won his third senior major and set a tournament record — and a record for all senior majors — for largest margin of victory (13 strokes ). He finished 2014 with five wins, two wins in majors, and led the tour in wins, money and scoring average.
After that superb 2014 season, Langer had five seasons in which he led the tour in wins, and five leading in earnings — both all-time bests. He also won his fourth Player of the Year Award, the only Champions Tour golfer to win that award four times.
Trevino burst onto the Champions Tour in 1990 with 15 Top 2 finishes, including seven victories. Most of his wins were in his ages 50 through 55 years, a period during which he won more than twice each year. He won only three times afterward. But during his 50-55 years, Trevino won 26 senior tournaments. With the latter three, Trevino reached 29 wins — second-best behind Irwin.
Trevino won four senior majors, tied for seventh-best on the list of golfers with the most senior major wins . But his four included the two most important ones, the U.S. Senior Open , and Senior PGA Championship . Trevino won three Player of the Year awards, two Champions Tour money titles, and three scoring titles.
Getty Images Sport/Doug Benc
The Golden Bear didn't win any Champions Tour awards, never led in money or scoring, and won only 10 titles total. So what's he doing this high? There are two reasons we rank Nicklaus so high:
- Eight of his 10 Champions Tour wins came in majors , which is the record for most wins in senior majors;
- Nicklaus won those 10 titles and eight majors in a paltry number of Champions Tour starts.
The only reason Nicklaus' overall win total is relatively low is that he played so few tournaments. He never played more than nine Champions Tour events, and that was in 2003, 13 years after his senior circuit debut in 1990.
From age 50 to 56 years, Nicklaus only played 4, 5, 4, 6, 6, 7 and 7 Champions Tour tournaments, respectively. He won one-fourth of those starts. He played only nine times combined in his first two seasons, but won five of those starts and finished in the Top 3 seven times. It's easy to believe that had Nicklaus played 15 times a year, he'd be No. 1 on this list. But he didn't. He only made "special guest star" appearances on the Champions Tour. He just did fantastic work in that very low number of starts.
Player's first Champions Tour win was in 1985, and his last in 1998. That's a span of competitiveness that rivals Irwin's, although Player didn't have nearly the quantity of success that Irwin did. Player's 19 overall Champions Tour victories rank 11th in tour history. But that total includes six wins in majors, which is tied for third-best. In 1987-88, Player won a total of eight times — including a Champions Tour-record three consecutive majors (1987 Senior Players Championship , 1987 U.S. Senior Open, 1988 Senior PGA).
Barber was the most consistent winner over the first decade of the Champions Tour, winning three of six starts in 1981, and winning at least once each year through 1989. He led the tour in money twice and was runner-up twice more; and led in scoring once. (The tour didn't start awarding Player of the Year until 1990.) Barber won 24 times, fourth-best on the Champions Tour; and he won five senior majors, tied for fifth-best. Three of those majors were U.S. Senior Opens, and Barber remains the only 3-time winner of that tournament.
Morgan is another of the most consistent performers in Champions Tour history. He posted victories in 11 different seasons, winning as late as age 61. That included two 6-win years (1997-98). He won 25 titles overall, third-best in tour history, and three senior majors. Morgan also won two scoring titles. He never led the tour in money but finished in the Top 10 nine times.
Chi Chi Rodriguez
Getty Images/Alexander Tamargo
One of the most popular players in Champions Tour history, Chi Chi — whether he was playing great or playing poorly — always put on a show. And over his first decade on the senior circuit, Rodriguez played great far more often than he played poorly. His best year — one of the best ever on the tour — was 1987, when he won seven times, had four seconds and three thirds, and led the tour in money and scoring. Rodriguez set a tour record that year by winning four consecutive tournaments. Overall, Rodriguez posted 22 wins, including two senior majors. He lost an 18-hole playoff to Nicklaus at the 1991 U.S. Senior Open and had only a 1-7 record in Champions Tour playoffs.
Watson is another golfer who never played a lot of tournaments on the Champions Tour. He played more than Nicklaus — an average of around 12 to 13 events a year — but not nearly as often as, say, Trevino or Morgan. Watson still won 14 times, and he won six senior majors (tied with Player for third-best). Watson also managed to win a money title, a scoring title and a Player of the Year award despite his limited senior schedule (all in 2003). However, Watson never won more than twice in a given season, and three of his majors are Senior British Opens , which generally had a much weaker field than the majors. His Champions Tour playoff record was only 3-8.
January was 51 by the time the Champions Tour was formed in 1980, and there wasn't a full schedule of events the first couple years. Still, he won 22 times including the Senior PGA in 1982. January was the tour scoring leader in five of its first six years of existence, and the money leader three of the first five years.
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Last updated: Sep 28, 2023
Who Is The Oldest Player On The Champions Tour?
Hale Irwin is currently the oldest player on the PGA Tour Champions. He may be older than his competition, but he can still play at a high level with some of the best golfers to ever do it.
He made his debut on the PGA Tour back in 1968 and is still competing today. While on the PGA Tour, Irwin was known to excel in tournaments when the conditions were toughest. This was obvious during the 1974 U.S. Open when he was able to secure the win under some of the hardest course conditions ever to be played in the U.S. Open era. He was able to win the tournament with a score of seven-over par in the tournament that was later named the “Massacre at Winged Foot.”
From 1971 until 1994, Irwin secured victory at 20 PGA Tour events. Along with being known for his strong performances in difficult conditions, he is also the definition of consistency. He holds the fourth-best mark in PGA Tour history , making the cut in 86 consecutive tournaments. This means that he was in the running to win in every tournament he participated in from 1975 to 1978. After his retirement from the PGA Tour in 1994, he continued his playing career on the PGA Tour Champions and has won a record 45 tournaments.
Irwin has been a well-renowned golfer throughout his career and was even named the captain of the United States team in the inaugural President’s Cup of 1994. He is known to be one of the most consistent golfers of his time and still competes at a high level today at the age of 76 years old.
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Who has won the most money in pga tour champions history.
Bernhard Langer is the top money winner in PGA Tour Champions history, with a total of $35,446,920 in winnings. Hale Irwin sits at number two in these rankings, with $27,158,515 earned throughout his career in the PGA Tour Champions. Irwin’s placing second in prize money but tied for first in total wins can be attributed in part to the increase in prize money in recent years, compared to lesser pots handed out during the start of his PGA Tour Champions career.
What is the minimum age to compete in the PGA Tour Champions?
The minimum age to participate in the PGA Tour Champions is 50 years old. You can also participate if you are 49 but will turn 50 by June 1st of that tournament’s year. The PGA Tour Champions is geared toward golfers who were once successful on the PGA tour but have since passed their athletic prime. A handful of amateur golfers have also been known to participate and perform surprisingly well, given the competition.
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Why a 20-year-old golfer can’t collect $1.5-million prize after PGA Tour win in SoCal
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Nick Dunlap is the first winner of the American Express event on the PGA Tour who likely leaves home without an American Express card.
The 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Alabama is an amateur golfer, so he couldn’t accept the $1.5-million prize earmarked for the winner of the tournament once known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic that ended Sunday in La Quinta.
The win was historic. Dunlap, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, is the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event since Phil Mickelson won the Northern Telecom Open in 1991. He also is the second-youngest player to win a Tour event in the last 90 years (Dunlap is 20 years, 29 days old; Jordan Spieth won the 2013 John Deere Classic at 19 years, 352 days).
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But the big check goes to runner-up Christiaan Bezuidenhout , who finished one shot behind Dunlap’s 29-under-par 259. Dunlap also misses out on 500 FedExCup points, which would put him in the running for a healthy chunk of the $70-million bonus pool distributed at the end of the year.
After the victory, Dunlap said he isn’t sure whether to join the Tour now or return to Tuscaloosa. He clearly is a star in the making, the only golfer besides Tiger Woods to win the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur.
“I have to take a second to let what just happened sink in a little bit,” he said after celebrating with his parents and girlfriend. “That’s a decision that’s not just about me. It affects a lot of people, and obviously I’m going to try to enjoy this.”
Even if Dunlap stays in school, the victory will give him an exemption into the PGA Championship. He’d already earned three-year exemptions into the Masters, U.S. Open and the Open Championship as the winner of the U.S. Amateur.
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Turning pro now normally would cause an amateur to lose exemptions into those majors, but because he now has a PGA Tour victory on his resume he’d be awarded exemptions that way.
All of which gives Dunlap much to consider when he decides whether to bother doing the homework he brought with him to the West Coast — he’ll stay in California for another week to play at Torrey Pines on a sponsor exemption.
“Starting the week, if you would have said, ‘Hey, in five days you’re going to have a PGA Tour card, or an opportunity for two years,’ I would have looked at you sideways,” he said. “But [the decision to turn pro] is something that it doesn’t just affect me. It affects a lot of people — my coach back there and my teammates — and it’s a conversation I need to have with a lot of people.”
Regardless of whether he rolls with the Tide or the Tour, Dunlap appears to be golf’s next big thing and ought to be good for American Express Platinum status soon enough.
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Steve Henson is a reporter with the Fast Break sports team at the Los Angeles Times. He previously served as an assistant editor and reporter in the Sports department. Henson was a leader in digital-only newsrooms from 2007-19 as a senior editor and columnist at Yahoo Sports and as senior editor at the USA Today Sports Media Group. This is his second stint at The Times, having covered the Dodgers and UCLA as well as doing enterprise, investigative and features writing from 1985-2007. Henson was awarded first place in sports features in 2021 by the L.A. Press Club and has been honored several times by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and also by the California News Publishers Assn., the Football Writers Assn. of America and U.S. Basketball Writers Assn.
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20-year-old amateur golfer becomes PGA Tour champion but can't collect prize money
A 20-year-old amateur golfer became a PGA Tour champion Sunday.
Nick Dunlap, a University of Alabama sophomore, won The American Express tour, beating out Christiaan Bezuidenhout by one stroke and finishing the 72-hole tournament at 29-under-par 259.
But the champion won’t be able to collect any prize money despite becoming the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event since Phil Mickelson at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open, per the rules of amateur status .
The $1,512,000 prize will be given to Bezuidenhout, the only runner-up in the tour, as if Dunlap had not been in the field, a spokesperson for PGA Tour confirmed to NBC News.
A tearful Dunlap was seen hugging his family and friends following his historic win.
"I went over a scenario for today probably a million times and it's never going to go how you planned, and it didn't," Dunlap said. "I'm so happy to be standing here."
Comparisons have been drawn between the 20-year-old champion and Tiger Woods.
Dunlap is the second golfer in history to win both the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur titles after Woods. He's also the first reigning U.S. Amateur champ to win on the PGA Tour since Woods in 1996.
At 20 years and 29 days, Dunlap is now the youngest amateur to win on the PGA Tour since Chick Evans at the 1910 Western Open.
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"It is so cool to be out here and experience this as an amateur," Dunlap said following his win.
"If you would have told me that, you know, come Wednesday night I'd have the putts to win this golf tournament, I wouldn't believe you," he said.
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TUMI Named Official Luggage of the PGA TOUR and LPGA
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The iconic, global lifestyle brand announces multi-year partnership with the PGA TOUR and LPGA, in addition to introducing a new golf collection to TUMI Sports’ line up
NEW YORK; DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. and PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – [January 23, 2024] International travel and lifestyle brand TUMI announced multi-year partnerships with the LPGA and PGA TOUR today naming TUMI the “Official Luggage” for both organizations. TUMI’s partnerships with the PGA TOUR and LPGA reinforces the brand’s dedication to major global sports partnerships, such as Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur, McLaren Racing, and the Professional Tennis Players Association. TUMI’s foray into golf coincides with the debut of its first full range golf collection, offering high performance and innovative products that embody both the sport and its accompanying lifestyle.
To kick off these prestigious men’s and women’s partnerships, TUMI is hosting an interactive booth at the PGA Show this week in Orlando, Florida, featuring product previews, influencer appearances and additional on-site programming.
“We’re thrilled to welcome TUMI into our PGA TOUR family alongside our partners at the LPGA,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “This collaboration with the LPGA highlights TUMI’s values and our shared commitment to bettering our game by making it welcoming to all.”
“We are thrilled to welcome this exciting partnership with TUMI as the Official Luggage of the LPGA and the PGA TOUR,” said LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan. “This partnership not only signifies our shared commitment to excellence but also underscores our collective dedication to empowering women in sports around the world. As a global tour with stops in 10 countries worldwide, TUMI’s innovative golf collection is a perfect match for the LPGA, and our partnership will reflect the spirit of determination, quality and style that defines both the LPGA and TUMI. We look forward to a strong collaboration between the LPGA, PGA TOUR, and TUMI, celebrating the journeys and triumphs of our athletes both on and off the course.”
“The PGA TOUR is excited to welcome TUMI into our family as we introduce this iconic lifestyle brand to our athletes and fans worldwide,” said Brian Oliver, PGA TOUR Executive Vice President, Corporate Partnerships. “All golfers, whether casual or professional, will benefit from having access to TUMI’s unique products and style as it officially enters the golf space.”
“We are honored to begin these partnerships with the PGA TOUR and LPGA and to celebrate the achievements of these globally esteemed athletes,” said Andrew Dawson, President of TUMI. “At TUMI, we are always evolving to meet the needs and interests of our consumers and like-minded audiences. Serving our community of both competitive and leisure athletes was a deliberate yet authentic next step for our brand.”
Inspired by the passion of the sport and staying true to TUMI’s DNA, the golf assortment delivers the brand’s signature durability, high-performance materials, and innovative design. Headlining the collection are the golf bags, which offer game-enhancing features including soft-touch padding, USB-C charging ports and cooler pockets, along with monogrammable patches for an added element of personalization that is uniquely TUMI. Additional lifestyle bags and accessories spanning duffels, divot tools, tee and ball pouches, club covers and more were designed to work seamlessly together with the bag offerings.
Engineered with the rigors of professional golf in mind, each piece in the collection is constructed with the highest technical detail designed to help you perform both on and off the course. The collection’s golf and travel bags range from $795-$1,595 USD, with additional bags and accessories ranging from $125-$650 USD.
The collection is exclusively available on TUMI.COM globally and coming soon to select TUMI stores, golf clubs and select department stores this Spring. Select items will also be featured in pop-ups across the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour tournaments globally throughout the year. To learn more about TUMI’s sport partnerships, visit TUMI.com/About.
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Why young stars like Nick Dunlap capture our imagination
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Nick Dunlap showed several times Sunday that he is a special talent. He held off two of the game’s stars, Justin Thomas and Sam Burns, to become the first amateur in more than three decades to win on the PGA TOUR. Dunlap displayed aplomb when he didn’t let himself get sidelined by a tee shot shanked into the water on PGA WEST’s seventh hole or when he holed clutch putts on holes 16 and 18 and didn’t succumb to the stress of the island green sandwiched between.
But it was a moment after the victory, in his post-round press conference, that illustrated why Dunlap’s victory captured the collective imagination of the golf world. Dunlap, still a sophomore at the University of Alabama (at least for a few more days), was asked by PGATOUR.COM’s Paul Hodowanic if there was any homework he was supposed to be attending to that Sunday night.
“Yes,” Dunlap said. Then he smiled. “Probably won’t do it, though.”
It was a moment when this intriguing prospect, after showing incredible physical prowess and mental fortitude throughout the day, revealed a precociousness that belied his athletic gifts. Millions of dollars are awaiting Dunlap for his feats, but this moment was a brief reminder that he is still a kid. His eagerness to shrug off classroom assignments, and the fact that he earned $0 for playing golf last week, are two things that everyone watching could relate to.
That was just one reason for the excitement around his victory. Few sports get more enthused about young talent than golf, and Dunlap’s win proved that once again.
Nick Dunlap news conference after winning The American Express
From Bobby Jones to Bobby Clampett, Ty Tryon to Tiger Woods, golf has a long history of young talents who have enthralled us. Add Horton Smith, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth to the list.
All of them gave past generations the same sense of awe that Dunlap elicited Sunday. Golf's individualistic nature and the longevity of careers are two reasons for the fascination that surrounds such players.
In other sports, you have to worry about incredible talents being wasted on bad teams (apologies to Mike Trout and Caleb Williams). Not golf. It also allows its amateur stars to moonlight in competition with the pros, often producing intriguing glimpses of potential. A Heisman Trophy winner doesn’t get one week to moonlight for an NFL team before the draft. And no sport affords greater longevity than golf, meaning players like Dunlap potentially have decades to amass a Hall of Fame resume.
In a few years, those who watched Sunday may be able to compare the experience to watching the Beatles amass their reps in those Liverpool (England) pubs. But the somber side of this coin is that golf also offers no guarantees.
The names listed above prove that. Even for all of his incredible amateur feats, who could have predicted that Tiger Woods would 82 times on the PGA TOUR? Or that Clampett would win just once.
Even Dunlap acknowledged that the future, especially in this mercurial endeavor, is a mystery. Dunlap could win three times. Or 30. These futile attempts to predict the future offers fans and pundits endless debate fodder.
The inherited unpredictability is one reason Dunlap deviated from the precision of his preshot routine on the 18th green Sunday. Were nerves a factor? Of course. But he also wanted to savor the moment. It wasn’t long ago that he was a high-school kid on the practice green at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama, pretending to have this very moment: a 6-foot putt for a PGA TOUR win.
“I took a little bit longer than I normally might, and (to) just take in the moment and (that) nothing’s for granted,” he said Sunday evening. “I may not ever have that chance again, and I just want to embrace it.”
Nick Dunlap’s adventurous 72nd hole seals win at The American Express
That maturity and perspective have undoubtedly served Dunlap well in a career that’s already seen him accomplish things previously done by the likes of Mickelson and Woods. He’s the first amateur since Mickelson in 1991 to win on the PGA TOUR. He’s the only player other than Woods to win both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur.
And only Dunlap has won those two titles and a PGA TOUR trophy before turning pro. Now we enter one of the entertaining phases of a player’s career, something that is akin to a honeymoon. We’re still in the midst of that same period with Ludvig Åberg, who is still just six months into his pro career. It’s a brief moment where the innocence of youth intersects with a player’s preternatural ability, often producing endearing anecdotes that only further charm golf fans.
Spieth, who was 19 when he first earned PGA TOUR status, celebrated by playing Texas Hold‘em in the lobby of his hotel with his father, Shawn, and agent, Jay Danzi. The stakes? Peanut M&M's. Åberg has already won two professional titles and played in a Ryder Cup but he lives in a room that he rents for $400 per month from fellow TOUR player Vincent Norrman.
For Dunlap, it was the decision to blow off his homework. A reminder that the latest PGA TOUR winner, though he composed himself like a veteran down the stretch Sunday, is not far removed from van rides and midterms.
He’s part of an enthralling crop of young talent that is either beginning its PGA TOUR career or waiting at the gates. There are now three players age 21 or younger who own PGA TOUR titles: Dunlap, Tom Kim and Akshay Bhatia.
Hours before Dunlap’s win, Stanford senior Michael Thorbjornsen finished 11th in the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. Thorbjornsen, the No. 1 player in PGA TOUR University, already has three top-20s in pro events, including his fourth-place finish at the 2022 Travelers Championship. Vanderbilt junior Gordon Sargent has a PGA TOUR card waiting for him when he turns pro, thanks to the PGA TOUR University Accelerated program.
Sargent, who wowed some of the game’s top players with his clubhead speed at last year’s Masters, won an NCAA Championship as a freshman and was low amateur at last year’s U.S. Open.
Åberg went from college kid to Ryder Cupper in 2023, closing the year by tying the PGA TOUR’s 72-hole scoring record. Nicolai Hojgaard, 22, was the youngest player on either team at last year’s Ryder Cup; he concluded the year by winning the DP World Tour’s season finale, beating all of the top names on that circuit. He and Min Woo Lee both are PGA TOUR members for the first time this year. Lee, 25, had top-10s at last year’s U.S. Open and THE PLAYERS.
“There’s hardly any need for an apprenticeship anymore,” Golf Channel commentator Brandel Chamblee said in 2020, shortly after Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff took the TOUR by storm. “They hit the ground like veterans.”
But there’s nothing like watching the kids win. Dunlap showed that again on Sunday.
Sean Martin is a senior editor for the PGA TOUR. He is a 2004 graduate of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. Attending a small school gave him a heart for the underdog, which is why he enjoys telling stories of golf's lesser-known players. Follow Sean Martin on Twitter .