Preview and Storylines for Senior PGA Championship

Fred AltvaterContributor IIMay 19, 2014

Preview and Storylines for Senior PGA Championship

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    Koki Idoki will defend at the 2014 Senior PGA Championship.
    Koki Idoki will defend at the 2014 Senior PGA Championship.Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    The first Senior PGA Championship was held in 1937, and Jack Hutchinson was the winner.

    The tournament boasts a Hall of Fame gallery of past champions. Sam Snead has won this event six times. Hale Irwin has won four. Gary Player won in 1986, 1988 and 1990. Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson each have won two Senior PGA Championships. 

    Koki Idoki, who played his entire career on the Japan Golf Tour, won last year in his first appearance in America and will defend this year.

    For the second time in three years, the tournament will be held at the Harbor Shores Golf Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

    The 156-player field includes 35 PGA club professionals.

    Bernhard Langer, Kenny Perry and the best Champions Tour players will be among those trying to win a piece of the $2.1 million purse.

Kenny Perry Is a Major Concern

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    Kenny Perry won his third career major championship at the Regions Tradition.
    Kenny Perry won his third career major championship at the Regions Tradition.Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Kenny Perry came close, but he could never win a major on the PGA Tour. He is making up for it on the Champions Tour.

    He won the Senior Players Championship and the U.S. Senior Open last year and just won the first major of 2014 at the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek.

    With his length and accuracy off the tee and his controlled iron play, he appears to be the man to beat this week.

Harbor Shores Golf Club Demands Accuracy

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    Harbor Shores is a Jack Nicklaus design and opened for play in 2010.
    Harbor Shores is a Jack Nicklaus design and opened for play in 2010.Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Jack Nicklaus designed the Harbor Shores Golf Club, and it opened for play in 2010.

    Englishman Roger Chapman won the Senior PGA Championship when it was last held at Harbor Shores in 2012.

    The course demands accuracy off the tee and forces players to pick their spots to land approach shots into the treacherous greens.

    The Senior PGA Championship will return to Harbor Shores in 2016 and 2018.

Fred Couples Withdrew from the Senior PGA Championship on Sunday

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    Fred Couples reacts to a missed putt at the Masters.
    Fred Couples reacts to a missed putt at the Masters.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Fred Couples is having one of his best years on the Champions Tour and is No. 3 in the Charles Schwab Cup points race.

    His goal for the year is to win the Charles Schwab Cup, but it appears his achy back will not allow it.

    He has finished inside the top 10 for the $1 million bonus over the past couple of years, but he has not been able to win it.

    He missed his final round tee time at the Regions Tradition and was disqualified. It was then announced that he had withdrawn from the Senior PGA Championship this week. 

    Couples has been playing very well thus far in 2014. In six starts this season on the Champions Tour, he has five top-10 finishes, including one win and two runner-up finishes.

    He is always a fan favorite and will be missed at Harbor Shores.

     

    Information of withdrawal provided by press release received directly from PGA.

The 156-Man Field Includes 35 PGA Club Professionals

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    The PGA of America host the Senior PGA Championship.
    The PGA of America host the Senior PGA Championship.Uncredited/Associated Press

    The Senior PGA Championship hosts the best players from the Champions Tour, but it also includes PGA club professionals from around the country.

    The PGA of America hosts the Senior PGA Championship, and 35 club professionals will play along with the touring professionals at Harbor Shores.

    The club professionals must earn one of the 35 spots via a qualifying tournament held during the year.

Charles Schwab Cup Points Important at Senior PGA Championship

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    Kenny Perry won the 2013 Charles Schwab Cup.
    Kenny Perry won the 2013 Charles Schwab Cup.Eric Risberg/Associated Press

    Bernhard Langer was the leading money winner on the Champions Tour in 2013 with $2.44 million. 

    He collected two wins, five runner-up finishes and 18 top-10 finishes in 23 starts last season, but Kenny Perry won the Charles Schwab Cup because he had won two major championships.

    The five majors on the Champions Tour each offer larger purses than the weekly tour events, and a player can move up the points list more quickly by finishing high in the majors.   

    With his win last week at the Regions Tradition, Perry jumped 18 places on the Charles Schwab Cup points standings to No. 4.

    Langer is the leader with a total of 1,267 points, but another major win by Perry would push him to the top.

Bernhard Langer Has 18 Consecutive Top-10 Finishes on Champions Tour

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    Bernhard Langer finished T-8 at the Masters.
    Bernhard Langer finished T-8 at the Masters.Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Bernhard Langer has not finished outside the top 10 in a Champions Tour event since the Senior Open Championship in July last year.

    He has eight top-10 finishes this season and is No. 1 on the Champions Tour money list as well as first on the Charles Schwab Cup points list.

    During his remarkable string of consistent play, he has earned over $2.2 million.

    The 56-year-old Langer is at an age at which most men think of slowing down in their chosen careers, but he is exceeding all expectations.

    He was even in contention for a third green jacket at Augusta, finishing T-8 at the 2014 Masters.

    Harbor Springs Golf Club demands tenacity and accuracy. Langer has both of these qualities and should be a contender at the Senior PGA Championship.