AUSTRALIAN senior pro golfers Mike Harwood and David Merriman have received late invitations to the 70th US Senior PGA Championship being played at the Canterbury Golf Club in Cleveland Ohio this week.
They will join fellow Australians Greg Norman and 1990 US PGA champion Wayne Grady in a field including defending champion, American Jay Haas.
The championship, for golfers aged 50 and over, features 25 major champions, 13 Ryder Cup captains and 10 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
According to Peter Stone in the Sun Herald, Harwood and Merriman were on there way home for a three week break from the European Seniors Tour when they checked their mobile phones during a brief stopover in Hong Kong.
They discovered text messages informing them of the invitations.
According to Stone the PGA of America has no set criteria for its invitations, and neither Harwood nor Merriman knows why they were invited.
Stone says in Harwood’s case, it is possible he made the list because he is in his first year as a senior and did win the British PGA title in 1990.
Merriman, a former Sydney cub pro who did not become a touring professional until he joined the seniors in 2007, flew out yesterday for the US.
“I’m just so excited,” Merriman is reported as saying about playing his first tournament in the US. “It’s awesome, I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s dream come true.
“I’m told each player gets a Mercedes for the week and that we’re treated like kings. I would never have believed it.”
Harwood currently leads the Australian PGA Legends Tour Order of Merit.