To set the table for the inaugural KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco, Texas, turn back the clock for a moment to the last stages of the Great Depression.

By 1937, golf professionals reaching age 50 and older who weren’t fixtures on the tour and their club jobs were their only anchor, were out of options to extend their competitive careers.

Fortunately, two visionaries living in Augusta, Georgia, befriended PGA Professionals and saw things that others couldn’t imagine. Legendary Bobby Jones, a co-founder of Augusta National Golf Club, and Alfred Severin Bourne, the club vice president, teamed to host the inaugural then-titled PGA Seniors’ Championship on Nov. 30, 1937.

Jones led the invitation to senior professionals for a 54-hole championship, while Bourne – who many credit for saving Augusta National by a large donation years earlier – purchased a trophy for $1,500 from Tiffany’s.

Thirty-seven PGA Professionals made up the championship field. Scotsman Jock Hutchison triumphed 54 holes later, and on Dec. 2, he hoisted the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy, all 36 pounds and one of the largest trophies in golf.

All of this happened 43 years before the birth of today’s PGA Tour Champions. Senior PGA Professionals went on to discover a new lease on their golfing lives; job opportunities began to develop, and generations later the Championship gained a remarkable title sponsor in KitchenAid.

This week, as Frisco, Texas hosts its first major golf championship, a field of 156 will chart their own course in history.

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