PGA Seniors Championship

13pgaseniorslogoA quick scroll down the list of past winners is evidence enough of just why the PGA Seniors Championship remains firmly established as one of the flagship events of the European Seniors Tour.

Rees, Panton, Faulkner, Nagle, O’ Connor, Coles, Thomson and Horton – all great champions whose desire to compete and entertain, continued well past their youthful primes, collectively helping make the event one of the most popular on the calendar.

The inaugural event, sponsored by Teachers, was played at Fulwell in 1957 where Hillside’s John Burton claimed the honours.

Among the early winners was Sunningdale’s Arthur Lees, veteran of four Ryder Cups, and triumphant at Royal Mid Surrey in 1959.

Other great names to have made their mark on the championship include three time Ryder Cup player Sam King who won back to back titles in 1961 and ’62.

The late great 1951 Open champion Max Faulkner assured his place in the event’s history with the first of his two titles at Aldeburgh in 1968 but from 1976 to ’83 the championship became something of a one man show with Christy O’Connor winning an incredible six times sandwiched around victories for Paddy Skerritt in 1978 and ’80.

But no sooner had O’Connor relinquished his hold then another British legend of the post war era imposed his grip on the tournament with Neil Coles bagging four victories in five years from 1985 to ’89.

The event celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006 with a new venue at Stoke by Nayland and where Sam Torrance picked up his second successive title.

In 2012, Tokyo-based ISPS (International Sports Promotion Society) became title sponsors of the event, using it as a platform to promote opportunities for blind and disabled golfers. The partnership is set to leave a lasting legacy on UK golf by funding an innovative academy programme to train PGA professionals to coach blind and disabled golfers.