By Ken MacLeod
The early lineup for the 2021 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship May 27-30 at Southern Hills Country Club is formidable, replete with major championship winners and other heavyweights of the game.
Ernie Els leads the way with four major championships, having won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open Championship in 2002 and 2012. Vijay Singh has three to his credit, including the PGA Championship in 1998 and 2004 and The Masters in 2000.
Retief Goosen, who won the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills as well as the 2004 U.S. Open, is a two-time major champion, as is John Daly (1991 PGA Championship and 1995 Open Championship.), Lee Jantzen (U.S. Open 1993, U.S. Open 1998) and Bernhard Langer (1985 Masters, 1993 Masters).
Among those with one major championship already in the field are Davis Love III (1997 PGA Championship), Jim Furyk (2003 U.S. Open), Tom Lehman (1996 Open Championship) , Corey Pavin (1995 U.S. Open) and Darren Clarke (2011 Open Championship).
Other early commitments include defending champion Ken Tanigawa, Scott Verplank of Edmond (five PGA Tour wins) Steve Stricker (12 PGA Tour victories) Scott McCarron (three PGA Tour titles), Miguel Angel Jimenez (21 European Tour victories and 10 Champions Tour wins) and K.J. Choi (8 PGA Tour wins).
So while tournament officials still hope for the commitments of such popular golfers as Phil Mickelson or Fred Couples, the collective accomplishments of the golfers we know are in the field are quite remarkable.
Tickets and other information for the 2021 Senior PGA Championship can be purchased at www.srpgachampionship.com. The total number of ticket sales are still being worked out between PGA and city officials, but it is expected at least 5,000 fans will be allowed per day. Those purchasing tickets for the Senior PGA Championship will have first priority in purchasing tickets for the 2022 PGA Championship when they go on sale June 1.
Bryan Karns, championship director for both events, said “it’s looking like it will be the strongest field we’ve had for the Senior PGA Championship in a number of years. Being at an iconic venue like Southern Hills is certainly helping.”
Southern Hills, site of four previous PGA Championships and three U.S. Opens, recently underwent a thorough restoration by architect Gil Hanse of the 1936 Perry Maxwell design. It will be fascinating to watch how these storied pros contend with the new greens and bunker complexes combined with the variety of weather that a late May date portends. Greens are likely to be firmer and faster than in any previous major championship at Southern Hills, but the rough, particularly after this year’s severe winter, could be less penal than at any previous major.
Karns stressed that the best way to ensure your tickets for both events is to purchase Senior PGA Championship tickets now and guarantee an early window for weekend spots for the 2022 PGA Championship.