Monday, May 20, 2013 / 11:13 AM
This week, Bellerive Country Club hosts the 74th Senior PGA Championship. Here's everything you need to know, along with quite a few things you probably didn't know you wanted to know, about the upcoming tournament:
Schedule: The course will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday for Pro-Am and practice rounds. The first and second rounds will be held on Thursday and Friday, when the course will be open from 6:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Players will start on No. 1 and No. 10, playing in groups of three. The third and final rounds will take place on Saturday and Sunday, when the course will be open between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. On the last two days, all players will start on No. 1, in groups of two. You can find information about tickets here.
Fun Fact: With the 2013 Senior PGA Championship, Bellerive will become just the third club to host all four traveling men's professional major tournaments. Bellerive hosted the U.S. Open in 1965, the PGA Championship in 1992, and the U.S. Senior Open in 2004. Chances are Bellerive won't be hosting the non-traveling Masters or the non-stateside British Open (now called The Open Championship) any time soon. But the PGA Championship will come back in 2018, which will mark the 100th playing of that tournament.
Parking: Spectators can park at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Maryland Heights. Shuttle service to and from the main entrance is complimentary. Ladue and Mason roads will be closed near the course.
Fun Fact: The Senior PGA Championship started in 1937. Golf legend Bobby Jones offered his then-fairly-new course, Augusta National Golf Club, as the venue. Scotsman Jock Hutchison (great name!) won that inaugural event at age 53, then came back to win his second title a decade later at age 62.
Cellphones: Spectators are asked to turn their mobile devices to the silent or vibrate setting, so your ringer doesn't cause Fred Funk to shank a tee shot. If you need to talk, do so in designated areas. And don't take any photos or videos. Break these rules, and Tiger Woods (or his former caddy) will magically appear to snap your phone in half.
Fun Fact: This year's field includes eight previous winners of the Senior PGA Championship. Nick Price, who won the 1992 PGA Championship at Bellerive, was forced to withdraw from this week's tournament because of an arm injury. But John Cook, Jim Gallagher Jr., and Gene Sauers, who all finished tied for second in that tournament, will be in the field at Bellerive this week.
Stuff Not to Bring: Portable radios or TVs, oversize chairs, backpacks, coolers, ladders, milk crates, posters, dogs, food, booze, weapons, and quite a few other things are all strictly prohibited on the grounds. I know it might seem unfair to be forced to leave your milk crate at home, but the rules are the rules, folks.
Noteworthy Groupings: Two-time Senior PGA Champion Tom Watson will play with Peter Jacobsen, who won the 2004 U.S. Senior Open at Bellerive, and Steve Elkington, the 1995 PGA Champion. They tee off on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. on No. 10 and on Friday at 7:55 a.m. on No. 1. The group of Jay Haas, Fred Couples, and Tom Kite tees off on Thursday at 7:55 a.m. on No. 1 and on Friday at 1:05 p.m. on No. 10. PGA Club Professional Brian Fogt of St. Louis will have the honor of hitting the first shot. He starts on Thursday on No. 1 at 7:15 a.m. with Tim Thelen and Kirk Triplett. Tom Wargo of Centralia, Ill., the last PGA club pro to win this tournament (in 1993) will starts on No. 10 at 8:20 a.m. on Thursday.
Hole to Watch: No. 6. Here is how Mike Tucker, the head pro at Bellerive, describes this challenging hole: This is the signature par 3 at Bellerive. In the 1965 U.S. Open, this hole played to an incredible 4.03 stroke average! The green has even shrunk a bit since the renovation, making the front of the green just as tough as the back-right shelf. This would definitely be a hole worth watching as a spectator. Hole locations cut in the middle swale could provide some excitement with tee shots feeding towards the cup. But still, plan on seeing a few "train wrecks" at No. 6. You can take a virtual tour of the entire course here.
Defending Champ: Roger Chapman was the surprise winner of last year's tournament. On the European Tour, he didn't win a tournament until his 472nd start, which was his lone career triumph. But just a few weeks after winning the Senior PGA Championship, he captured another major, taking the title at the 2012 U.S. Senior Open as well.
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