A lot more people in Roger Chapman’s hometown know who he is
nowadays. That’s what happens when a guy wins a couple majors on
the Champions Tour.
Chapman would have been best described as a journeyman on the
European Tour before he broke through last year with wins at the
Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open.
”It’s been an enormous change in my life,” the 54-year-old
Englishman said Monday at the media day for the 2013 U.S. Senior
Open that will be played in Omaha this summer. ”I’m getting
recognized in the street in my local town. I went to the Ascott
races, and people were coming up to me and offering congratulations
on the wins.”
Chapman’s 2012 campaign allowed him to make his first appearance
in the Masters last month, and he’ll play for the first time in the
U.S. Open at Merion in June. He also was made an honorary lifetime
member of the European tour.
Before coming back to Omaha to defend his U.S. Senior Open
title, Chapman will try to win a second straight Senior PGA
Championship in St. Louis in three weeks.
The U.S. Senior Open is July 11-14 at the 6,711-yard, par-70
Omaha Country Club. The course was designed in 1925 on rolling
farmland on the north side of Omaha. It was redesigned in 1951 and
had a major renovation done in 2005.
”My first impression driving up the driveway is that it looks
like everything you want as a major championship venue,” Chapman
Tournament officials announced Monday that Fred Couples has
committed to play in Omaha and that Colin Montgomery, who becomes
eligible for the Champions tour in June, will make his debut
Chapman said he has played ”average” golf so far this year. He
has played eight tournaments and hasn’t missed a cut. His best
finish is a tie for 10th at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic,
and he has four top-25 finishes.
He tied for 31st this past weekend in the Insperity Championship
at The Woodlands, Texas, and is 49th in the Charles Schwab Cup
”If I was to put a percentage on it – 75 or 80 percent,”
Chapman said of his play. ”I’ve been struggling with the driver a
bit these last couple weeks.”
He said he took a putting lesson from Dave Stockton last week in
Last year, Chapman became the first Englishman to win a USGA
championship since Tony Jacklin won the 1970 U.S. Open. He held off
Corey Pavin, Tom Lehman, Fred Funk and Bernhard Langer to win the
He joined Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Hale Irwin as the only
players to win a U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA Championship in
the same year.
Chapman made more money in 12 Champions Tour events in 2012
($1.02 million) than in the previous four years playing on the
European senior circuit combined.
Chapman said a new fitness regimen was the key to his success
last year. He lost more than 20 pounds in six months to get down to
He said he didn’t set high goals for 2012, but when he found
himself in the lead after the first round of the Senior PGA
Championship, he had to re-assess. The confidence he gained from
winning helped him when he had to come back from four shots down
after three rounds to win the U.S. Senior Open.
”2012 was a very special year,” he said, with the Senior Open
trophy in front of him on the dais. ”Just to have that trophy on
my dining room table at home is such an honor.”