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The top two from our opening event of the season in Barbados are lining up in the USA – as both Peter Baker and Scott Hend look to continue their good form from Apes Hill as they go in search of a maiden Senior Major title.

Two-time Senior PGA Championship winner Colin Montgomerie is also in the field. Monty won this event at Harbor Shoresin 2014 and again on the Pete Dye Course at French Lick in 2015.

Other European past champions of the Senior PGA Championship taking part this week include Roger Chapman (2012 winner), Bernhard Langer (2017), Paul Broadhurst (2018) and Alex Cejka (2021).

Padraig Harrington was runner-up last year to Steve Stricker, with the Irishman keen to add the Senior title to his PGA Championship.

No-one has won more senior majors than Bernhard Langer (12), who turns
66 in August. The German tore his left achilles tendon at the start of February playing pickleball at home in Florida – he had surgery the following day and has recovered in record time to resume playing golf at the start of this month!

He finished in a share of 8th place at the Regions Tradition two weeks ago. He applied for and has been given an ADA exemption at this week’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship to ride a cart in competition.

“If it hadn’t been for that I wouldn’t be playing golf anywhere right now, because I can’t walk 18 holes,” Langer said on Tuesday at Harbor Shores. “It’s not just this week, it’s every week for a few more months.”

Langer was initially told that his injury would typically involve six to 12 months of recovery – sometimes longer. Langer proved once more, as he has so often in his career, that he is an exception to the rule. He had a procedure called a “speed bridge” that kept him from needing to wear a cast.
“Actually, I’ve been hitting balls for five or six weeks now,” Langer revealed, “so I started hitting balls when I was about two months after surgery, which is pretty amazing.”

This week marks the sixth playing of the KitchenAid Senior PGA at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores, and Langer has an amazing record at the venue though he has yet to win there. He tied 4th in 2012; tied 3rd in 2014 and 2016; was unable to play because one of his children was graduating from high school in 2018 (though he was the tournament’s defending champion); and two years ago, entered the last round with a chance, shot 71, and watched Steven Alker walk off with the trophy.

Langer was asked if the golf course, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus, has grown on him through the years, “I thought this was a great golf course from the very get-go,” he said. “I think from tee to green it’s one of the best there is. Just some of the greens are a little bit severe, that’s all. But it’s always been in great condition and very well received.
“I think Jack Nicklaus-designed courses, they make you think, they make you play from one spot to another, not just necessarily hit it anywhere you want. If you get caught on the wrong side, you get punished.”

Langer tees off on Thursday morning with Retief Goosen and Y.E. Yang.

Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, who captained Europe to a resounding Ryder Cup victory over the U.S. in Paris in 2018, has been playing quite nicely when he’s taken up the opportunity. This week will mark his sixth start of the season on PGA Tour Champions where he already has a tie for second (Trophy Hassan II) and tie for third (Invited Celebrity Classic).

“I’m just trying to get things going,” Bjorn said, “I’ve kind of withdrawn myself a little from all the politics of golf – at least I’m not as involved as I was – and I want to see if I can have a few years of playing some senior golf.”

What is good in his game these days? For Bjorn, tee to green, he likes practically everything he is seeing, “I’ve been hitting it extremely good. I struggled on the Bermuda greens the last few week, but in general it’s pretty good,” said Bjorn, a 15-time winner in his DP World Tour career. “I’m in a good space, positive about it.”

Bjorn is a two-time winner on the Legends Tour and he’s enjoying keeping up with his fellow competitors on the over-50’s circuits, “I don’t feel like I’m ‘catching up’ at the moment,” Bjorn said, “which is where I feel I’ve been for a while. I’ve felt I was behind. So, I don’t feel like I’m catching up, I feel that I’m right where I want to be.”

Bjorn will be making his second appearance in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, an event which he finished in a tie for 15th place at PGA Frisco in Texas last May.

Among the other Legends Tour members taking part are Michael Campbell, Emanuele Canonica, Adilson Da Silva, Clark Dennis, Stephen Dodd, Bradley Dredge, David Frost, Richard Green, Joakim Haeggman, Keith Horne, Greig Hutcheon, Michael Jonzon, Simon Khan, James Kingston, Michael Long, Paul McGinley, Euan McIntosh, Shaun Micheel (the 2003 PGA Championship winner), Greg Owen, Jeev Milkha Singh and Patrik Sjöland.

The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship features 11 past winners of the event, 26 Major champions, 11 past Ryder Cup captains and seven players in the Hall of Fame.

Play at Harbor Shores, Michigan runs from Thursday 23rd May through to Sunday 26th.

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