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.