U.S. SENIOR OPEN
Irwin Homecoming Highlights Decorated Field at The Broadmoor
May 16, 2018 | Liberty Corner, N.J.
By Joey Flyntz, USGA
A star-studded cast of the game’s greats will showcase their skills on golf’s grandest stage when the 39th U.S. Senior Open Championship is contested June 28-July 1 on The Broadmoor’s East Course in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Fittingly, the most decorated of the bunch is former University of Colorado defensive back Hale Irwin, who transitioned to punishing golf balls instead of wide receivers after college, en route to a legendary career that included three U.S. Open titles and two U.S. Senior Open wins.
Irwin, who won the U.S. Open in 1974, 1979 and 1990, and the Senior Open in 1998 and 2000, is one of six U.S. Open champions and 11 Senior Open champions scheduled to compete at The Broadmoor. Lee Janzen (1993 and 1998) is the only other player with multiple U.S. Open victories in the field. Defending Senior Open champion Kenny Perry, who also won in 2013, is the only other multi-time Senior Open champion competing this year.
In addition to Irwin and Janzen, the U.S. Open champions looking to join Irwin as a winner of both championships are: Tom Watson (1982), Tom Kite (1992), Corey Pavin (1995) and Steve Jones (1996). The nine Senior Open winners in addition to Irwin and Perry are: Peter Jacobsen (2004), Brad Bryant (2007), Fred Funk (2009), Bernhard Langer (2010), Olin Browne (2011), Roger Chapman (2012), Colin Montgomerie (2014), Jeff Maggert (2015) and Gene Sauers (2016).
The field is also receiving a significant boost from a pair of decorated players making their Senior Open debuts. Steve Stricker, a winner of 12 PGA Tour events and veteran of 20 U.S. Opens, including a 16th-place tie in his native Wisconsin last year at Erin Hills, will compete at The Broadmoor. Stricker has already garnered two PGA Tour Champions victories in 2018. Additionally, 1997 PGA champion Davis Love III, 54, is set to compete.
“I am excited to play in my first U.S. Senior Open and I know The Broadmoor will be exceptional as a host,” said Stricker, 51, who splits his time between the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions. “I have competed in a number of U.S. Opens, so I know that both the course and field at the Senior Open will test me in similar ways. I have been playing well so far this year and feel prepared for the challenge.”
This will be the third U.S. Senior Open in Colorado and the second at The Broadmoor. Eduardo Romero won at The Broadmoor in 2008, topping Funk by four strokes.
The Broadmoor is hosting its eighth USGA championship. Two of the greatest players in golf history have earned titles at the acclaimed resort. Four-time U.S. Open champion Jack Nicklaus won the first of his two U.S. Amateurs there in 1959, while Annika Sorenstam captured the first of her three U.S. Women’s Opens in 1995. The Broadmoor also hosted the 1967 U.S. Amateur (won by Robert B. Dickson), the 1982 U.S. Women’s Amateur (Juli Inkster), the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open (So Yeon Ryu) and the 1962 Curtis Cup Match (USA).
“The U.S. Senior Open is considered senior golf’s most coveted championship and there is once again great interest in competing for the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “As The Broadmoor celebrates its centennial, the East Course will provide an ultimate test for the players and an outstanding venue for fans to witness the game’s greats.”
A total of 2,738 entries were accepted for the 39th U.S. Senior Open, with 75 already exempt into the 156-player field. The rest of the spots will be filled via sectional qualifying, which will take place at 34 sites around the country beginning May 21.
Joey Flyntz is an associate writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.