Unlikely Champions Tour star Roger Chapman returns to Michigan, the site of his two senior majors
Roger Chapman and Michigan will forever be linked.
Chapman’s magical summer in Michigan’s mitten - he won the two most prestigious majors on the Champions Tour within a span of two months in 2012 - will go down as one of the most unlikely feats in golf. Chapman, the unheralded Englishman, had not won a tournament of any kind since 2000 and had a relatively benign career up until then.
His victories at the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor and the U.S. Senior Open on the Old course at Indianwood Golf & Country Club were impressive.
He returned to Michigan April 23 to drum up some buzz for the 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, which will return to Harbor Shores, May 22-25, 2014.
The wins couldn’t have come on two more different courses. The wild greens and unique topography of Harbor Shores, designed by Jack Nicklaus, feels nothing like the classic fescue-lined fairways of Indianwood. Harbor Shores is unique in that it’s almost three courses in one. It skirts dunes along Lake Michigan and later intertwines with the Paw Paw River. Other holes roam through wooded corridors. Critics call it disjointed. I call it a miracle of modern design that Nicklaus and his team could revive an old dumping ground through the middle of an urban landscape into something good enough to host a major tournament.
Next time I visit, I’ll be sure to dine at the Grande Mere Inn in Stevensville. Chapman ate there every night during his championship run. I’m hoping the food will help my game, too. Check out the photo below of Chapman and the owners, Pete and Nancy Racine (both standing), at their place.
Benton Harbor, in the southwest corner of Michigan, seems to be embracing golf like never before. Already more than 1,000 volunteers have registered to work the tournament. It’s a blue-collar community that is embracing its moment in the golf world’s spotlight.
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