Jim Furyk, Fred Couples, Steve Stricker, Ernie Els and defending champion Jerry Kelly highlight the 81-player field for the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship 2021, as the tournament announced on Friday. The third major of the year at PGA TOUR Champions begins Thursday June 24th on the historic South Course at Firestone Country Club.
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Twenty years after losing a seven-hole playoff to Tiger Woods at the 2001 WGC Bridgestone Invitational, Furyk will make his highly anticipated tournament debut. In 17 starts at Firestone on the PGA TOUR, Furyk took 10 top 10 finishes, including two runner-ups and two thirds, but he was denied victory. In the combined 2020-21 season on PGA TOUR Champions, the 51-year-old has two wins and eight top 10 placements and is currently 10th in the Charles Schwab Cup classification.
Kelly is one of eight previous champions in the field and wants to be the first player to successfully defend his title since Bernhard Langer (2014-2016). He is in a familiar position as he celebrates his second straight win at his hometown event, the American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, Wisconsin. The win was his eighth on the PGA TOUR Champions and brought him to first place in the Schwab Cup.
In addition to Kelly and Langer, Retief Goosen (2019), Vijay Singh (2018), Scott McCarron (2017), Kenny Perry (2013), Couples (2011) and Jay Haas (2009) are other former champions in the field. The field also includes four players who won the PGA TOUR at Firestone Country Club: Vijay Singh (2008), Darren Clarke (2003), Jose Maria Olazabal (1994, 1990) and David Frost (1989).
A total of 28 of the top 30 players in the Schwab Cup ranking are to compete, including Stricker in 12th place. The American Ryder Cup captain has made nine career starts in senior majors, two wins, five top 10 Placements and a sixth place in the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS 2019.
Golf Channel will cover all four rounds, with the program airing Thursday and Friday from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET (tape delay) and Saturday and Sunday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET (live).