Senior PGA Championship and Canterbury’s Ties to the Masters

Picture credited to PGA of America

Picture credited to PGA of America

This week, the World’s best professional golfers are competing to win a coveted green jacket at the 2009 Masters Tournament at Augusta National. Looking back, there are several very unique ties between the Senior PGA Championship, Canterbury Golf Club and the Masters Tournament.

Henry Picard’s Green Jacket
A winner of the Masters Tournament receives an August National members’ green jacket, which he gets to take home for one year. When Champion returns to defend his title, he is expected to return it to Augusta. Every green jacket ever won is now on display in the clubhouse — well every green jacket except for two.

In 1938, Henry Picard, Canterbury’s head professional from 1949 to 1964, won the second Masters Tournament. Once Picard received his green jacket,  he wore it every Sunday to greet Canterbury golfers on the first tee. The jacket then hung in his closet in Charleston, S.C. until it was given to Canterbury. As a tribute to Picard, the jacket now hangs within the clubhouse for all its members to see.

Gary Player’s 1961 green jacket is the other outside of Augusta. It is now in South Africa at Player’s home.

The First Senior PGA Championship
Legendary amateur player Bobby Jones organized the inaugural Senior PGA Championship in 1937. The first course to host the senior tournament was Augusta National. Augusta hosted the Senior PGA Championship again the following year.

Nicklaus’s 14th Title
When Jack Nicklaus won the 1973 PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club, it marked his 14th Major Championship. This broke the old record of the most major championships won by a golfer, which was held by Bobby Jones — a founder of the Senior PGA Championship and the reason the tournament was played at Augusta National for its first two years.

Senior PGA Past Champions and Masters Honorary Starters
The first and second Senior PGA Champions, Jock Hutchinson in 1937and Fred McCleod in 1938, served as the first honorary starters at the Masters in 1963. They hit the first balls at every Masters until 1973. The honorary starter is a tradition that still lives today, as 1980 and (Jan.) 1984 Senior PGA Champion Arnold Palmer teed up the first shot in 2009.

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