Officials from the 38th U.S. Senior Open Championship, conducted by the United States Golf Association, recently announced that Tom Watson, an eight-time major professional champion, and defending champion Gene Sauers have filed entries as exempt players. Hale Irwin, Bernhard Langer, Olin Browne, Roger Chapman, Peter Jacobsen, Jeff Maggert, Colin Montgomerie and Kenny Perry are also fully exempt as U.S. Senior Open champions and have entered this year’s championship.

The 2017 U.S. Senior Open Championship will be held at Salem Country Club, in Peabody June 26-July 2.

Watson, pictured above, a three-time U.S. Senior Open runner-up, won the 1982 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. He also captured five Open Championships, conducted by The R&A, and two Masters Tournaments. Watson, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988, won 39 PGA Tour events. A winner of six senior major professional titles, Watson, 67, tied for 16th in the 2001 U.S. Senior Open when the championship was last held at Salem Country Club.

Sauers posted a one-stroke victory over Miguel Angel Jimenez and Billy Mayfair to win the 2016 U.S. Senior Open at Scioto Country Club, in Columbus, Ohio. He made a 5-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to earn custody of the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy. Sauers, who finished as the U.S. Senior Open runner-up in 2014, won his first PGA Tour title in New England when he defeated Blaine McCallister in a playoff to claim the 1986 Bank of Boston Classic, held at Pleasant Valley Country Club, in Sutton, Mass.

Irwin, the 1998 and 2000 U.S. Senior Open champion, also returns to Salem Country Club for a second Senior Open. He tied for 11th in 2001 as the defending champion. Irwin, 71, will be making his 22nd Senior Open appearance and is fourth all-time in that category. He is one of six players to have won three or more U.S. Opens, capturing the championship in 1974, 1979 and 1990. Irwin was enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1992.

Langer, the 2010 U.S. Senior champion, and Irwin are tied for second on the all-time list with seven senior major professional titles. Langer, who also is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, owns 30 PGA Tour Champions victories. He won the Masters Tournament in 1985 and 1993 and posted 42 PGA European Tour wins.

Tickets can be purchased through the U.S. Senior Open website at www.2017ussenioropen.com or by calling 978-818-6006. A daily championship round gallery ticket is $50 and a weekly gallery ticket is $125. The championship provides free admission to all youths 17 and under who are accompanied by a ticketed adult. The front row of every grandstand is reserved for children. All ticket holders receive complimentary parking with shuttle service to the championship.

The 38th U.S. Senior Open to be held June 26-July 2, 2017 at Salem Country Club in Peabody, Mass., will feature a field of 156 of the world’s best professional and amateur senior golfers (over the age of 50). The local qualifying round will be held at Kernwood Country Club in Peabody on May 24.

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The United States Golf Association announced minutes ago that Ray Bourque, who retired as the most prolific scoring defenseman in National Hockey League history and was a longtime Boston Bruins captain, has been named honorary chairman of the 38th U.S. Senior Open Championship, which will be conducted June 29-July 2 at Salem Country Club in Peabody, Mass.

Bourque, who played 20-plus seasons for the Bruins and led the franchise to a pair of Stanley Cup Finals appearances, won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman five times and finished second to Mark Messier in 1990 for the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player. He finished his career with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001, winning his lone Stanley Cup in his final game. Bourque was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 in his first year of eligibility.

“Being named honorary chairman of the 2017 U.S. Senior Open is a thrill for me,” said Bourque, who received the 2003 Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. “I’ve been playing golf most of my life and have been a member at Salem Country Club for 25 years. Every round there is special. I love the game and its traditions and I’m looking forward to helping with the championship and being associated with the very best senior players in the world.

“I’ve worked with kids my whole career and one of the great benefits of this event is kids 17 years old and under get in free with a ticketed adult. That’s an opportunity for a lot of young people to see some of the top golfers in the history of the game on one of the best Donald Ross courses up close and in person.”

Bourque annually hosts a celebrity golf tournament to raise funds for the Celebrities for Charity Foundation, which he co-founded with former teammate Cleon Daskalakis 20 years ago. One of the most honored players in hockey history, Bourque won the 1980 Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie and the 1992 King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarian efforts. He was chosen as an NHL All-Star 19 times, including 13 first-team selections, and was voted All-Star Game MVP in 1996.

“Ray Bourque is one of hockey’s greatest players and his name is synonymous with the Boston Bruins and sports in New England,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “He has also served the game of golf, been active with charities in his community and will be a respected ambassador of this year’s U.S. Senior Open.”

Bourque, who was born in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, and was selected eighth overall in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins, collected 410 goals and 1,169 assists for 1,579 points in 1,612 regular-season games. His assists total is fourth all-time behind Wayne Gretzky, Ron Francis and Messier. Bourque’s five Norris Trophies rank behind only fellow Bruins’ legend Bobby Orr (8), Nicklas Lidstrom (7) and Doug Harvey (7).

Bourque was the longest-serving captain of the Bruins, a 12-year span. From his spot on the Boston blueline, he led the franchise to two conference titles, five division crowns, and one President’s Trophy for most points in a season. In 214 NHL playoff games, Bourque accounted for 180 points, with 41 goals and 139 assists. His jersey number, 77, was retired by both the Bruins and the Avalanche.

“In addition to being a hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Ray Bourque is a valued member of Salem Country Club and is extraordinarily generous with his time and talents, which he shares with numerous North Shore charities,” said William H. Sheehan III, general chairman of the 2017 U.S. Senior Open. “Ray will be active in the lead-up to the Senior Open, which includes hosting a junior clinic during championship week. We look forward to working closely with Ray as the club prepares to welcome the golf world to Salem Country Club in just a few short months.”

In his role as honorary chairman, Bourque, 56, will support the sixth USGA championship to be held at Salem Country Club. The course was the site of the 2001 U.S. Senior Open, when Bruce Fleisher defeated Gil Morgan and Isao Aoki by one stroke. Fleisher, runner-up in the previous year’s Senior Open to Hale Irwin, shot a final-round 68 that included 12 consecutive pars to finish the championship at even-par 280. During the final nine holes of the championship, five other players, including Aoki and two-time Senior Open champion Jack Nicklaus, were tied for the lead.

The U.S. Senior Open Championship for golfers age 50 and older is open to any professional and any amateur with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 3.4. The 2018 championship is scheduled for June 28-July 1 at the Broadmoor Golf Club (East Course), in Colorado Springs, Colo. In 2019, Warren Golf Course on the campus on the University of Notre Dame, in Notre Dame, Ind., will host from June 27-30.

U.S. Senior Open tickets are available online at www.usga.org/senioropen. Trophy Club, practice-round and championship-round tickets are available on a daily and weekly basis. Youths 17 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult.

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By BILL BROTHERTON

Matt Sawicki, director of championships for the United States Golf Association, says he spends about 180 days a year on golf courses. “Recently I spent five weeks in a row on courses and I didn’t hit a single golf shot,” said the St. Louis native. “I play five to 10 times a year, and my 10 handicap reflects that. … though it’s a trending-up 10.”

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“The players, they love to come to this area. A lot of them bring their families for the week.” ~ Andrea Bruno 

By BILL BROTHERTON

The art of hospitality is defined as the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

Andrea Bruno, Salem Country Club’s executive committee division chair of the Hospitality Committee for the 2017 U.S. Senior Open, says it’s the perfect job for her. And it’s easy to see why, after sitting in the clubhouse and chatting for a bit with the affable Lynnfield resident. She’s having a blast, and the hip surgery she had 2½ months prior hasn’t slowed her down one bit.

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The New England Professional Golfers Association has announced that Ed Carbone, the executive director of the U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club June 26 to July 2, and Jim Lane, the retired head PGA professional at Winchester Country Club, are major award winners for 2017.

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PEABODY – Junior volunteer registration for the 2017 U.S. Senior Open Championship, conducted by the United States Golf Association, is now open. Salem Country Club will host the 38th U.S. Senior Open,from June 26-July 2.

More than 200 junior volunteers are needed to fill standard bearer and program sales positions.

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PHOTO BY MARK LORENZ

Matt Sawicki, director of championships for the United States Golf Association, met with U.S. Senior Open managers at Salem Country Club on Wednesday and Thursday.

By BILL BROTHERTON

PEABODY – The U.S. Senior Open doesn’t arrive at Salem Country Club until late June, but Matt Sawicki, director of championships for the United States Golf Association, and his team have been planning the event for some three years. Those efforts are heating up in advance of the June 26-July 2 championship, the crown jewel of the Senior circuit.

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BY BILL BROTHERTON 

We all know that Salem Country Club is one of Donald Ross’ greatest achievements and one of the finest golf courses in the world. So when hall of fame golfer-turned NBC Sports analyst Johnny Miller opined during the 2001 Senior Open broadcast that all of Salem’s greens had become copycat circles, it raised more than a few eyebrows.

When the 38th U.S. Senior Open returns to Salem CC June 26-July 2, it’ll be evident that the greens have been reshaped and expanded to Ross’ original design. In fact, the entire course has been restored to its 1925 layout.

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Still waiting for your buddy to invite you to play Salem Country Club? Your only chance to walk the course inside the ropes might be by volunteering during the U.S. Senior Open Championship, June 26 – July 2.

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Salem Country Club Clubhouse overlooking the 18th green. | Photo: Spenser Hasak

Tickets for the 2017 U.S. Senior Open, which will be played June 26 –July 2 at Salem Country Club, are now on sale.

The Open is the sixth national championship to be played at Salem, which underwent a significant restoration in the fall of 2015, restoring the course to its original 1925 Donald Ross design.

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