Everything you ever wanted to know about the U.S. Senior Open

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As practice rounds continue today for the U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National, we though we would share some of the interesting research done by the USGA in advance of the tournament.

WHO’S HERE – Among the 156 golfers in the 2014 U.S. Senior Open there are:
U.S. Senior Open champions (10): Olin Browne (2011), Brad Bryant (2007), Roger Chapman (2012), Dave Eichelberger (1999), Fred Funk (2009), Hale Irwin (1998, 2000), Peter Jacobsen (2004), Bernhard Langer (2010), Larry Laoretti (1992) and Kenny Perry (2013).

U.S. Senior Open runners-up (9): Fred Funk (2008, ’12, ’13), Hale Irwin (1996, 2004), Bernhard Langer (2012), Tom Lehman (2012), Gil Morgan (2001), Mark O’Meara (2011), Corey Pavin (2012), Loren Roberts (2005) and Joey Sindelar (2009).

U.S. Open champions (5): Hale Irwin (1974, ’79, ’90), Steve Jones (1996), Tom Kite (1992), Corey Pavin (1995) and Scott Simpson (1987).

U.S. Open runners-up (8): Mark Brooks (2001), Tom Lehman (1996), Davis Love III (1996), Rocco Mediate (2008), Colin Montgomerie (1994, ’97, 2006), Scott Simpson (1991), Jeff Sluman (1992) and Loren Roberts (1994).

U.S. Amateur champions (6): John Cook (1978), John Harris (1993), Mark O’Meara (1979), Sam Randolph (1985), Hal Sutton (1980) and Scott Verplank (1984).
U.S. Amateur runners-up (4): John Cook (1979), Scott Hoch (1978), Tom Kite (1970) and Sam Randolph (1984).

U.S. Amateur Public Links champions:  None.

U.S. Junior Amateur champions (2): Gary Koch (1970) and Willie Wood (1977).

U.S. Junior Amateur runners-up (1): Scott Simpson (1972).

U.S. Mid-Amateur champions (3): Jerry Courville Jr. (1995), Tim Jackson (1994, 2001) and Michael McCoy (2013).

U.S. Mid-Amateur runners-up (2): Thomas Brennan (1994) and Jerry Courville Jr. (1999).

U.S. Senior Amateur champions (1): Doug Hanzel (2013).

U.S. Senior Amateur runners-up (1): Pat O’Donnell (2013).

Walker Cup Team Members:

United States (20): Billy Andrade (1987), Jerry Courville Jr. (1995, ’97), Danny Edwards (1973), Dave Eichelberger (1965), Brad Faxon (1983), Jay Haas (1975), Jerry Haas (1985), John Harris (1993, ’95, ’97, 2001), Scott Hoch (1979), Tim Jackson (1995, ’99), Tom Kite (1971), Gary Koch (1973, ’75), Corey Pavin (1981), Michael Peck (1979), Sam Randolph (1985), Scott Simpson (1977), Hal Sutton (1979, ’81), Scott Verplank (1985), Duffy Waldorf (1985) and Willie Wood (1983).

Great Britain & Ireland (2): Roger Chapman (1981) and Colin Montgomerie (1985, ’87).

NCAA Division I champions (6): Jay Haas (1975), John Inman (1984), Hale Irwin (1967), Tom Kite (1972), Scott Simpson (1976, ’77) and Scott Verplank (1986).

TOTAL SENIOR OPENS WON BY 2014 CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD (11): Olin Browne (1), Brad Bryant (1), Roger Chapman (1), Dave Eichelberger (1), Fred Funk (1), Hale Irwin (2), Peter Jacobsen (1), Bernhard Langer (1), Larry Laoretti (1) and Kenny Perry (1).

PLAYERS IN FIELD WITH MOST SENIOR OPEN APPEARANCES (2014 included) – Dave Eichelberger (21), Hale Irwin (19), Larry Laoretti (19), Gil Morgan (17), Tom Kite (15) and Bob Gilder (14).

ACTIVE CONSECUTIVE U.S. SENIOR OPEN APPEARANCES (2014 included) – Dave Eichelberger (21), Tom Kite (15), Hale Irwin (11), Jay Haas (11), Peter Jacobsen (11) and Loren Roberts (10).

CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD – The USGA accepted 2,715 entries in 2014. Dave Tentis, a 52-year-old professional from Woodbury, Minn., was the first entrant. Kenneth Noonan, a 58-year-old amateur from Pacific Grove, Calif., submitted his entry 8 seconds before the deadline of 5 p.m. EDT on May 28. The record for entries is 3,101 in 2002.

The 156-player field includes 71 fully exempt golfers, 10 of whom are U.S. Senior Open champions. Sectional qualifying over 18 holes was held at 34 sites in the United States between June 12-24.

AMATEURS – There are 18 amateurs in the 156-player field. The number is the lowest total in championship history. Doug Hanzel, the low amateur at the last two U.S. Senior Opens and the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, and Michael McCoy, the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, are among this group.

Hanzel, of Savannah, Ga., was the lone amateur to make the cut last year at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club, finishing tied for 56th, and tied for 53rd at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in 2012. He won his first national championship by capturing the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur at Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, N.C. A physician at Southcoast Medical Group, Hanzel uses an insulin pump to control his diabetes.

McCoy, of West Des Moines, Iowa, received a special exemption from the USGA after winning the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur at the Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.). McCoy defeated Bill Williamson, 8 and 6, in the final match, the third-highest winning margin since the championship went to a 36-hole final in 2001. At age 50, McCoy became the second-oldest winner.

Pat O’Donnell, of Happy Valley, Ore., was the runner-up to Doug Hanzel at the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur and will be playing in his second U.S. Senior Open. A maintenance analyst for Boeing, O’Donnell was a quarterfinalist at the 2012 U.S. Senior Amateur.

Note: There were 28 amateurs in last year’s U.S. Senior Open at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club. Doug Hanzel was the lone amateur to make the cut and finished 56th. William C. (Bill) Campbell (1980) and Tim Jackson (2009) are the only amateurs to hold the lead at a U.S. Senior Open through 36 holes.

Amateurs at Senior Open

Year                 Number             Made Cut          Low Finisher
2014                 1                        —                    ——
2013                 28                       1                    Doug Hanzel (56th)
2012                 35                       2                    Doug Hanzel (tie, 53rd)
2011                 29                       1                    Tim Jackson (tie, 50th)
2010                 30                       3                    Tim Jackson (tie, 32nd)
2009                 28                       3                    Tim Jackson (tie, 11th)
2008                 29                       6                    Danny Green (tie, 37th)
2007                 31                       5                    Danny Green and George Zahringer (tie, 33rd)
2006                 33                       1                    Randy Reifers (tie, 47th)
2005                 30                       4                    Greg Reynolds and George Zahringer (tie, 31st)
2004                 25                       1                    Pat Tallent (tie, 54th)
2003                 33                       0                    —–
2002                 29                       2                    Bob Clark (tie, 56th)
2001                 26                       4                    Paul Simson (tie, 40th)
2000                 26                       4                    Kemp Richardson (tie, 47th)
1999                 23                       2                    Kemp Richardson (tie, 46th)
1998                 30                       1                    Joel Hirsch (tie, 59th)
1997                 29                       4                    Marvin (Vinny) Giles III (tie, 55th)
1996                 32                       3                    Marvin (Vinny) Giles III (tie, 54th)
1995                 40                       3                    Bob Housen (tie, 38th)
1994                 36                       4                    Johnny Stevens (tie, 28th)
1993                 39                       5                    Marvin (Vinny) Giles III (tie, 35th)
1992                 38                       4                    Morris Beecroft (tie, 32nd)
1991                 37                       5                    Jim Patti (tie, 34th)
1990                 39                       5                    Gary Cowan (tie, 31st)
1989                 43                     10                     Jim McMurtrey (tie, 28th)
1988                 47                     10                     Bob Housen (tie, 25th)
1987                 43                       9                    Dennis Iden (tie, 42nd)
1986                 37                       7                    Robert Hoff (tie, 37th)
1985                 53                       7                    William Hyndman III (tie, 18th)
1984                 54                     13                     Dale Morey and Fordie Pitts Jr. (tie, 13th)
1983                 46                       9                    Robert Rawlins (tie, 15th)
1982                 42                       4                    John Harbottle (42nd)
1981                 45                       6                    Glenn Johnson (tie, 16th)
1980                 67                     16                     William C. Campbell (2nd)

SECTIONAL QUALIFIERS – Bruce Vaughan, the 2008 Senior British Open champion, and Mark Brooks, the 2001 U.S. Open runner-up at Southern Hills Country Club, in Tulsa, Okla., are among 85 U.S. Senior Open sectional qualifiers. Vaughn, who is competing in his seventh U.S. Senior Open, is the first alternate from the Glen Ellyn, Ill., sectional qualifier. He replaced 1997 U.S. Senior Open champion Graham Marsh, an exempt player who withdrew. Brooks, who won the 1996 PGA Championship in a playoff with Kenny Perry, is playing in his third U.S. Senior Open.

Wes Short Jr., who finished first in the 2013 Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament, made the field through sectional qualifying.

USGA champions who advanced to the U.S. Senior Open through sectional qualifying are: Jerry Courville Jr. (1995 Mid-Amateur), Tim Jackson (1994, 2001 Mid-Amateur) and Gary Koch (1970 Junior Amateur).

Note: In 2002, Don Pooley was the last player to win the U.S. Senior Open as a sectional qualifier.

U.S. SENIOR OPEN AT OAK TREE NATIONAL

This is the first U.S. Senior Open Championship and the second USGA championship to be conducted at Oak Tree National.

In 1984, Scott Verplank defeated Sam Randolph, 4 and 3, to win the U.S. Amateur Championship. Verplank, a student at Oklahoma State University, earned medalist honors with a two-round total of 137. He survived two close calls in match play. In the semifinals, he holed an 8-foot par putt on No. 18 to defeat Randy Sonnier, 1 up. Verplank was 2 down after 10 holes against Peter Parsons in the quarterfinals, but rallied on the inward nine for a 1-up victory. The start of the championship match was delayed by rain for two hours. Verplank made three consecutive birdies in the afternoon round to move ahead for the first time and sank a 25-footer on the 33rd hole to end the match.

USGA CHAMPIONSHIPS AT OAK TREE NATIONAL    

1984 U.S. Amateur: Scott Verplank def. Sam Randolph, 4 and 3

PLAYERS IN 2014 SENIOR OPEN FIELD WHO PLAYED IN 1984 U.S. AMATEUR AT OAK TREE NATIONAL (14): Billy Andrade, Marco Dawson, Scott Dunlap, Mike Goodes, Jerry Haas, John Inman, Jeff Maggert, Michael McCoy, Rocco Mediate, Sam Randolph, Kirk Triplett, Scott Verplank, Rocky Walcher and Duffy Waldorf.

OTHER CHAMPIONSHIPS AT OAK TREE NATIONAL

1988 PGA Championship: Jeff Sluman won by three strokes over Paul Azinger, 272-275
2006 Senior PGA Championship: Jay Haas def. Brad Bryant, 279-279 (won on third playoff hole)

USGA CHAMPIONSHIPS IN OKLAHOMA

This is the 21st USGA championship held in Oklahoma and the first U.S. Senior Open held in the state. Tommy Bolt (1958), Hubert Green (1977) and Retief Goosen (2001) have won U.S. Open titles in Oklahoma, all at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa.

List of USGA Championships in Oklahoma

1946 U.S. Women’s Amateur: Southern Hills Country Club (Babe Didrikson Zaharias)
1953 U.S. Junior Amateur: Southern Hills Country Club (Rex Baxter Jr.)
1953 U.S. Amateur: Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club (Gene Littler)
1958 U.S. Open: Southern Hills Country Club (Tommy Bolt)
1960 U.S. Girls’ Junior: The Oaks Country Club (Carol Sorenson)
1960 U.S. Women’s Amateur: Tulsa Country Club (JoAnne Gunderson Carner)
1961 U.S. Senior Amateur: Southern Hills Country Club (Dexter H. Daniels)
1965 U.S. Amateur: Southern Hills Country Club (Robert L. Murphy Jr.)
1967 U.S. Junior Amateur: Twin Hills Golf & Country Club (John T. Crooks)
1970 U.S. Women’s Open: Muskogee Country Club (Donna Caponi)
1977 U.S. Open: Southern Hills Country Club (Hubert Green)
1983 U.S. Women’s Open: Cedar Ridge Country Club (Jan Stephenson)
1984 U.S. Amateur: Oak Tree National (Scott Verplank)
1987 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur: Southern Hills Country Club (Cindy Scholefield)
1988 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links: Page Belcher Golf Course (Pearl Sinn)
2001 U.S. Open: Southern Hills Country Club (Retief Goosen)
2008 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur: Tulsa Country Club (Diane Lang)
2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links: Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club (Brad Benjamin)
2009 U.S. Amateur: Southern Hills Country Club (Byeong-Hun An)
2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links: Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club (Lauren Diaz-Yi)

PLAYERS IN THE U.S. SENIOR OPEN FIELD WHO HAVE WON THE OKLAHOMA OPEN (6): Danny Edwards (1973, ’77, ’79), Gil Morgan (1981, ’97), Bryan Norton (1992), Bob Tway (1985, ’87), Rocky Walcher (2004, ’07) and Willie Wood (1990, ’95).

CAREER SENIOR MAJOR LEADERS – Jack Nicklaus, a two-time U.S. Senior Open champion, is the career leader with eight senior major professional titles. Hale Irwin, who won the Senior Open in 1998 and 2000, is second with seven senior majors.

Career Senior Major Leaders  

Number, Winners, Years of Championships
8, Jack Nicklaus (1991, ’93 U.S. Senior Open; 1990, ’91, ’95, ’96 Tradition; 1990 Senior Players, 1991 Senior PGA)
7, Hale Irwin (1998, 2000 U.S. Senior Open; 1996, ’97, ’98, 2004 Senior PGA; 1999 Senior Players)
6, Gary Player (1987, ’88 U.S. Senior Open; 1986 ’88, ’90 Senior PGA; 1987 Senior Players)
6, Tom Watson (2003, ’05, ’07 Senior British; 2001, ’11 Senior PGA; 2003 Tradition)
5, Miller Barber (1982, ’84, ’85 U.S. Senior Open; 1981 Senior PGA; 1983 Senior Players)
5, Arnold Palmer (1981 U.S. Senior Open; 1980, ’84, Senior PGA; 1984, ’85 Senior Players)
4, Allen Doyle (2005, ’06 U.S. Senior Open; 1999 Senior PGA; 2001 Senior Players)
4, Raymond Floyd (1996, 2000 Senior Players; 1994 Tradition; 1995 Senior PGA)
4, Loren Roberts (2006, ’09 Senior British; 2005 Tradition; 2007 Senior Players)
4, Lee Trevino (1990 U.S. Senior Open; 1992, ’94 Senior PGA; 1992 Tradition)
3, Fred Funk (2009 U.S. Senior Open; 2008, ’10 Tradition)
3, Jay Haas (2006, ’08 Senior PGA; 2009 Senior Players)
3, Bernhard Langer (2010 U.S. Senior Open; 2010 Senior British; 2014 Senior Players)
3, Tom Lehman (2011, ’12 Tradition; 2010 Senior PGA)
3, Gil Morgan (1997, ’98 Tradition; 1998 Senior Players)
3, Kenny Perry (2013 U.S. Senior Open; 2013 Senior Players; 2014 Tradition)
3, Dave Stockton (1996 U.S. Senior Open; 1992, ’94 Senior Players)

TELEVISION COVERAGE – There will be at least 14 hours of live network coverage of the U.S. Senior Open, with at least six of those hours on NBC. Dan Hicks will anchor the NBC telecasts and will work with Gary Koch in the 18th-hole tower. ESPN will air at least eight hours over the first two days.

All times are Central Daylight Time: Thursday and Friday (July 10 and 11) – 3-7 p.m. on ESPN2; Saturday and Sunday (July 12 and 13) – 1:30-5 p.m. on NBC. If a three-hole aggregate playoff is necessary on Sunday, NBC will continue its coverage following the conclusion of the final round.

Television Coverage (Local Times)

Date (Day)                                Network                                                Time (Local)
July 10 (Thurs.)                          ESPN2*                                                3-7 p.m.
July 11 (Fri.)                              ESPN2*                                                3-7 p.m.
July 12 (Sat.)                             NBC                                                     1:30-2 p.m. (pre-game)
                                                NBC                                                     2-5 p.m.
July 13 (Sun.)                            NBC                                                     1:30-2 p.m. (pre-game)
                                                NBC                                                     2-5 p.m.

*Indicates program will also be broadcast via ESPN3 & ESPN Mobile TV

ESPN COVERAGE – The 2014 U.S. Senior Open Championship’s first two rounds will air live on ESPN2 and WatchESPN on Thursday and Friday, July 10-11, from 3-7 p.m. CDT. Sean McDonough will anchor the U.S. Senior Open telecasts with analysis by two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange. Reporters Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing, Notah Begay and Steve Sands will also contribute. All U.S. Senior Open programming on ESPN2 is available on computers, smartphones, tablets, Xbox and Apple TV via WatchESPN, accessible to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider, including Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Cox, Charter Communications and AT&T U-verse.

HISTORY – This is the 35th U.S. Senior Open Championship. The first U.S. Senior Open, played in 1980, was conducted for golfers 55 and older. The next year, the USGA lowered the minimum age to 50.

Miller Barber captured the first of his three U.S. Senior Open titles in 1982; he also won in 1984 and 1985. The U.S. Senior Open has four two-time winners: Gary Player (1987, 1988), Jack Nicklaus (1991, 1993), Hale Irwin (1998, 2000) and Allen Doyle (2005, 2006). Doyle became the championship’s oldest winner in 2006 at the age of 58 years and 13 days.

The youngest champion is Dale Douglass, who won in 1986 at the age of 50 years, 3 months and 24 days.

WINNERS OF U.S. OPEN & SENIOR OPEN     

Winners, Years of Championships

Billy Casper (1959, 1966 Open; 1983 Senior Open)
Hale Irwin (1974, 1979, 1990 Open; 1998, 2000 Senior Open)
Orville Moody (1969 Open; 1989 Senior Open)
Jack Nicklaus (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980 Open; 1991, 1993 Senior Open)
Arnold Palmer (1960 Open; 1981 Senior Open)
Gary Player (1965 Open; 1987, 1988 Senior Open)
Lee Trevino (1968, 1971 Open; 1990 Senior Open)

TWO-TEE START – A two-tee start was adopted at the 2001 U.S. Senior Open. The USGA successfully adopted a two-tee start for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2000 and used the concept for the first time at the U.S. Open in 2002. Play will begin at 7:15 a.m. CDT at the first and 10th tees on Thursday at Oak Tree National.

SENIOR OPEN ECONOMICS – Kenny Perry earned $500,000 from a purse of $2.685 million when he captured the 2013 U.S. Senior Open. The U.S. Senior Open was first held in the Central Plains at Hazeltine National Golf Club, in Chaska, Minn., in 1983. Billy Casper earned $30,566 from a purse of $173,280.

SENIOR OPEN BIRTHDAYS – Six players in the U.S. Senior Open field will be celebrating a birthday close to the time of the championship. Dan Forsman, who has finished in the top 20 in three of his five Senior Open appearances, is among that group. He turns 56 on July 15, two days after the championship’s final round.

2014 U.S. Senior Open Participant

Name                                                    Birthdate                       Age (on birthday)
Kevin Sutherland                                    7-4-64                           50
Hendrik Buhrmann                                  7-7-63                           51
Scott Verplank                                       7-9-64                           50
Larry Laoretti                                          7-11-39                         75
Dan Forsman                                         7-15-58                         56
Rod Spittle                                            7-18-55                          58

OLDEST & YOUNGEST – Larry Laoretti is the oldest player in this year’s U.S. Senior Open field. Laoretti, the 1992 champion, celebrates his 75th birthday on July 11, when the second round is scheduled to be played. Dave Eichelberger, the 1999 U.S. Senior Open winner, is 70 years old. Scott Verplank is the youngest in the field. He turns 50 on July 9, the day before the championship begins.

FIELD FOR THE AGES – There are nine players in the 2014 U.S. Senior Open field who have celebrated their 50th birthday since April. Joe Durant, who turned 50 on April 7, has won four times on the PGA Tour. Sam Randolph, the 1985 U.S. Amateur champion, turned 50 on May 13. Scott Verplank, who has finished in the top 10 in every professional major championship, will turn 50 on July 9.

There are 18 players in the field who are 60 or older. Hale Irwin, 69, has captured a pair of U.S. Senior Opens. Dave Eichelberger, Larry Laoretti and Peter Jacobsen are also champions.

The average age of the 156-player field is 54.65.

INTERNATIONAL GROUP – There are 16 countries represented at the 2014 U.S. Senior Open. The United States has 131 players in the field, while England has five and Australia, Japan and South Africa have three each.

Countries with players in the field – United States (131), England (5), Australia (3), Japan (3), South Africa (3), Argentina (1), Canada (1), Denmark (1), Fiji (1), Germany (1), Republic of Korea (1), Mexico (1), Philippines (1), Scotland (1), Spain (1) and Sweden (1).

FIRST TIME AT U.S. SENIOR OPEN – There are 59 players in the 2014 championship field who are playing in their first U.S. Senior Open. Vijay Singh, 51, has won 34 PGA Tour titles, including the 2000 Masters and 1998 and 2004 PGA Championships. Jeff Maggert, who has won three times on the PGA Tour, owns a top-five finish in all four major professional championships. Scott Verplank (1984) and Sam Randolph (1985) are U.S. Amateur champions.

List of First-Time U.S. Senior Open Competitors: J.C. Anderson, Mark Anderson, Billy Andrade, Bryan Askew, Woody Austin, Ben Bates, Stu Blasius, Rob Boldt, Charles Bolling, a-Patrick Brady, Craig Brischke, Simon Brown, Hendrik Buhrmann, Patrick Burke, Jose Coceres, Marco Dawson, John Dimarco, Scott Dunlap, Joe Durant, Frank Esposito, a-Mark Gardiner, Doug Garwood, Philip Golding, Quinn Griffing, Jerry Haas, Bill Harvey, Patrick Horgan, John Inman, Daniel Koesters, Jeff Maggert, Ken Martin, Miguel Angel Martin, Shawn McEntee, Francisco Minoza, Kevin Muir, a-Roger Newsom, Ted Norby, Seiki Okuda, a-Joe Palmer, a-Mike Peck, a-Ted Pecora, David Podas, Jim Ragland, Sam Randolph, Ty Roush, Steve Schneiter, Wesley Short Jr., Vijay Singh, Ron Skayhan, Anthony Smith, Jerry Smith, Mike Standly, a-Lewis Stephenson, Kevin Sutherland, Steen Tinning, Ricky Touma, Scott Verplank, Rocky Walcher and a-Doug Williams.

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE – Danny Edwards is playing in his second U.S. Senior Open but first since 2007, when he tied for 55th. Edwards attended Oklahoma State University and fashioned a solid amateur career, winning two Big Eight Conference titles, competing on the 1973 USA Walker Cup Team and finishing as low amateur at the ’73 British Open. Edwards, whose younger brother, David, is also a professional golfer and member of the "Oak Tree Gang," went on to win five times on the PGA Tour. Edwards is also an inventor and entrepreneur. He drove on professional auto-racing circuits between tournaments, which inspired him to develop rubber golf grips using the same compounds found in racing tires. Edwards also invented a unique divot-repair tool that can reduce the healing time of ball marks on greens.

OKLAHOMA ROOTS – Bill Glasson was a two-time All-America player at Oral Roberts University, in Tulsa, Okla., and lives in Stillwater, a 50-mile drive from Oak Tree National. Glasson, who is competing in his second consecutive U.S. Senior Open, won seven times on the PGA Tour but has also has endured 13 surgeries since becoming a member in 1984. Glasson, one of two players to advance from the Linden, Mich., sectional qualifier, flies his own plane to tour stops.

SELF-TAUGHT PRO – Jose Coceres, who has won twice on both the PGA Tour and PGA European Tour, is competing in his first U.S. Senior Open. Coceres, who grew up in Argentina’s Chaco province, was one of 11 children who grew up in a two-bedroom house. He took up golf when one of his brothers fashioned a club from a tree branch. Coceres, an ex-caddie who is self-taught, started playing by hitting rocks. His four brothers are also professionals.

THE HAAS BROTHERS – Jay and Jerry Haas will play in the same U.S. Senior Open for the first time. Jay, who has competed in 10 Senior Opens and has five top-10 finishes, was fully exempt into the field. Jerry, who is eligible to play for the first time, shared medalist honors at the Florence, S.C., sectional qualifier by making birdie on the final two holes. Jay, like his brother, was a collegiate standout at Wake Forest University. He has won 16 times on the Champions Tour, including three senior majors. Jerry recently completed his 17th year as Wake Forest’s head golf coach. During his tenure, he coached Jay’s son, Bill, a two-time national player of the year and current PGA Tour player.

PLAYING FOR KICKS – J.K. Kim qualified for his second consecutive U.S. Senior Open as the medalist from the Mira Loma, Calif., sectional qualifier. Kim, who was born in the Republic of Korea, is a five-time taekwondo world champion (1978, ’79, ’80, ’81 and ’82) and is a Grand Master eighth-degree black belt in the sport. He previously coached the national taekwondo teams for Canada, China, Japan and Jordan. Kim has been playing golf competitively for five years.

BEHIND THE SHIELD – Ron Schroeder, a retired police officer, spent 27 years on the City of Houston force. His golf career was delayed for  nearly a year following a 2008 automobile accident. While heading to a mini-tour event in Arkansas, Schroeder was seriously injured when another car crossed the dividing line, causing a head-on collision. Schroeder suffered wrist, hand, foot and chest injuries. He won the 2006 Texas South Amateur Championship and is a five-time winner of the Greater Houston City Amateur.

TWO GOOD KNEES – Lonnie Nielsen, who is playing in his seventh U.S. Senior Open and has won twice on the Champions Tour, has had 11 knee surgeries during his career. The 61-year-old had his left knee replaced last September; his right knee was replaced in July 2010. Nielsen, who shared medalist honors with Mark Brooks at the Sewickley, Pa., sectional qualifier, tied for 11th at the 2007 Senior Open, his best finish.

CADDIES CAN PLAY – PGA Tour caddies Lance Ten Broeck and Damon Green each advanced to the 2014 U.S. Senior Open Championship through sectional qualifying. Ten Broeck, who tied for ninth at the 2012 Senior Open, has carried a bag for PGA Tour members Robert Allenby and Jesper Parnevik. Green, who tied for 13th in 2011 at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, caddies for 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson.

THE DOCTOR IS IN – Roger Newsom, a 50-year-old amateur, is an ophthalmologist in Virginia Beach, Va. He was a sophomore on the East Carolina University golf team when his mother was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. The experience led him to apply to medical school. Newsom works with technology that assists with implants for eyes in cataract surgery to computer-guided, laser-measuring devices and lasers for treatment of glaucoma, diabetes and vision correction.

THE EYE TEST – Craig Steinberg has degrees in optometry and law and has combined the two disciplines in his career. In addition to owning his own optometry practice, Steinberg serves as general counsel for the American Optometric Society and American Board of Clinical Optometry. Steinberg, who is competing in his second U.S. Senior Open after tying for 54th in 2008, played as a collegian at the University of Southern California (USC). He won the Pacific-10 Conference title in 1980 and earned all-conference honors. Steinberg advanced to the semifinals of the 1988 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.

EXTRA TIME – Francisco "Frankie" Minoza had to play extra holes to advance to his first U.S. Senior Open. He birdied the third playoff hole, the par-5 18th, to take the second spot at the Vista, Calif., sectional qualifier. A native of the Philippines, Minoza has won seven events on the Japan Golf Tour and three Japanese Senior titles. Another overtime worker is Joe Palmer, who eagled the 18th hole to get into a playoff at the Mission Hills, Kan., sectional qualifier before making birdie on the first playoff hole. Palmer, who had 16 pars and one bogey prior to making eagle to post a 1-under 69, won the Iowa Golf Association’s 2013 Senior Amateur and 2004 Mid-Amateur.

GOLF ADMINISTRATOR – Bryan Norton is the president of the Kansas Golf Association and is competing in his second U.S. Senior Open. He tied for 19th at Crooked Stick Golf Club in 2009. Norton, who was an All-America player at nearby Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, has played in five different USGA championships (U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur). Norton was the runner-up at the 2003 Mid-Amateur when he was forced to concede the final match to Nathan Smith due to a calf injury.

SECOND SENIOR START – Vijah Singh, 51, will make his second start on the Champions Tour at the 2014 U.S. Senior Open. He previously played in the 2013 Pacific Links Hawai’i Championship, where he tied for sixth. Singh, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, won 34 PGA Tour events, including three majors. He captured two PGA Championships (1998, 2004) and the 2000 Masters Tournament. Singh also tied for second at the 2003 British Open and tied for third at the 1999 U.S. Open.

ON THE AIR – NBC golf analyst Gary Koch will have double-duty at the 2014 U.S. Senior Open for the second year in a row after advancing through the Dunedin, Fla., sectional qualifier. Koch, who will play in his third U.S. Senior Open, tied for 44th last year at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club. Koch won six PGA Tour events and played in 17 U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for sixth in 1982. He began his career as a sportscaster in 1990 by working for ESPN on Champions Tour events before moving to NBC Sports. Koch, 61, captured the U.S. Junior Amateur title in 1970.

FIRST OFF THE TEE – Oklahoma native Rocky Walcher will strike the first ball on Thursday from the first tee at 7:15 a.m. CDT. Walcher, who was born in Carnegie and resides in Oklahoma City, played on the Nationwide and PGA Tours from 1991-2003. He has twice won the Oklahoma Open (2004, ’07) and is a member of the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Athletic Hall of Fame.

REIGNING CHAMPIONS – Defending U.S. Senior Open champion Kenny Perry, 2013 Senior British Open winner Mark Wiebe and 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur champion Doug Hanzel are grouped together for the first two rounds. The group starts from the first tee on Thursday at 1:42 p.m. CDT. Perry carded a 7-under-par 63 in the final round of last year’s Senior Open to post a five-stroke victory at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club. He became the third golfer in Champions Tour history to win the U.S. Senior Open and Senior Players in the same year, joining Gary Player (1987) and Orville Moody (1989). Wiebe claimed his first senior major professional title by defeating Bernhard Langer on the fifth hole of a sudden-death playoff at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. Hanzel captured his first Senior Amateur championship with a 3-and-2 victory in the final at Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, N.C.

SENIOR OPEN CHAMPIONS – Fred Funk, Olin Browne and Roger Chapman, all recent winners of the U.S. Senior Open, will play together in the first two rounds. The group begins on the first hole on Thursday at 8:07 a.m. CDT. Funk turned in a record-setting performance with a 72-hole score of 268 (20 under par) to win the 2009 Senior Open at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. Browne won the following year at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. His four-round total of 269 (15 under par) was three strokes better than runner-up Mark O’Meara, In 2012, Chapman shot a final-round 66 to win by two strokes over four players at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Lake Orion, Mich.

USGA CHAMPIONS I – Tom Kite, Scott Simpson and Hal Sutton are all USGA champions. The three players will be grouped together on Thursday and Friday at Oak Tree National. The group starts at the first hole on Thursday at 2:24 p.m. CDT. Kite rallied in the final round to win the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. He overcame high, gusty winds and is remembered for pitching in for birdie on the par-3 seventh hole. Scott Simpson claimed the 1987 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. He shot a final-round 68 and held off Tom Watson by one stroke. Sutton won the 1980 U.S. Amateur at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst, N.C.

USGA CHAMPIONS II – John Cook, Tim Jackson and Gary Koch have each won USGA championships as amateurs. The three players will play together in the first two rounds. The group starts at the 10th hole on Thursday at 8:28 a.m. CDT. Cook won the 1978 U.S. Amateur and was the 1979 Amateur runner-up. Jackson captured U.S. Mid-Amateur titles in 1994 and 2001. Koch won the 1970 U.S. Junior Amateur by defeating Mike Nelms, 8 and 6, in the final.

MAJOR CHAMPIONS – Bernhard Langer, Mark Calcavecchia and Steve Elkington, all winners of major professional championships, are grouped together on Thursday and Friday. The group will begin from the 10th tee Thursday at 7:57 a.m. CDT. Langer, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open champion, won the Masters in 1985 and 1993. Calcavecchia defeated Wayne Grady and Greg Norman in a four-hole playoff to win the 1989 British Open at Royal Troon Golf Club. Elkington edged Colin Montgomerie in a playoff to capture the 1995 PGA Championship at Rivieria Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

OAK TREE GANG – The Oak Tree Gang is a group of touring professional golfers who play out of Oak Tree National. Bob Tway, Willie Wood and Gil Morgan, three members of the Oak Tree Gang, will play together on Thursday and Friday. The group will start the first round from the first tee Thursday at 2:03 p.m. CDT. Tway and Wood, the 1977 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, were college teammates at Oklahoma State University. Tway’s victory at the 1986 PGA Championship is one of his eight PGA Tour wins. Morgan, who graduated from East Central State College in Ada, Okla., owns seven PGA Tour victories and three senior major professional titles.

OAK TREE WINNERS – Jeff Sluman, Jay Haas and Scott Verplank have each been victorious at Oak Tree National and will play together on Thursday and Friday. The trio of champions will start from the first tee on Thursday at 1:52 p.m. CDT. Sluman defeated Paul Azinger by three strokes with a final-round 65 to win the 1988 PGA Championship. Haas won the 2006 Senior PGA Championship in a playoff with Brad Bryant. Haas got up and down from a right-front greenside bunker for par on the third extra hole. Verplank was crowned the 1984 U.S Amateur champion following a 4-and-3 triumph over Sam Randolph.

CLUB RECORD – David Podas, 51, advanced to the championship field as an alternate from sectional qualifying in Mira Loma, Calif. Podas is the director of golf at Bel-Air Country Club, which will serve as the companion course to Riviera Country Club for the 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship. Podas, who started his golf career as a caddie at Hiawatha Golf Club, in Minneapolis, Minn., set the Bel-Air course record with a 63 from the blue tees. Network sportscaster Al Michaels was in his group that day.

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Ken MacLeod

Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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