Norman faces tough task at Senior PGA
BY Bruce Young | Champions Tour | 2009 Senior PGA Championship | Preview | 21 May 2009
The Senior US PGA Championship is played this week at the Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood near Cleveland, Ohio, a Hebert Strong layout built in 1922 and a venue with a long association with Senior golf.
Between 1983 and 1986 the course was used as the venue for the then Senior Tournament Players Championship, in 1989 it staged the Ameritech Senior Open and in 1996 Dave Stockton won the US Senior Open over Hale Irwin.
The Senior PGA Championship is the longest standing of the Senior major championship having first been played in 1937 at Augusta National. It maintained a home in Florida between 1945 and 2000 but over the last ten years the event has been taken on the road to some of America’s greatest courses.
The Senior PGA Championship title will be defended by Jay Haas who defeated Bernhard Langer by one shot at the Oak Hill Country Club. Haas had also won the title in 2006 and starts as one of the favourites in 2009 courtesy of several good finishes this season despite not winning.
Langer has won twice already in 2009 and leads many of the statistical categories including the money list. He should be favourite to win although new recruit to the Champions Tour Tom Lehman is given a good chance. Lehman has put together several good finishes on the PGA Tour of late and won at his first Champions Tour start a month ago.
Greg Norman has done well enough at the considerably higher level of PGA Tour events such as the Houston Open and the Masters to be a factor this week. We saw at last year’s Open what he can achieve on a limited preparation and he has played more golf of late than was the case prior to the Open Championship last year.
Australasia has one of its greatest numbers of players in the event’s history in 2009. Greg Norman, David Merriman, Mike Harwood, Wayne Grady and New Zealanders Bob Charles and Jim Lapsley get their chance. Harwood has only recently turned 50 and become eligible to play this event for the first time while for Lapsley, he only discovered that he was in the field a week ago. He gains a start courtesy of his New Zealand Seniors PGA Championship win.