Couples drops out of Senior PGA

Strong contender Fred Couples has pulled out of this week’s Senior PGA Championship at storied Valhalla.

Strong contender Fred Couples has pulled out of this week’s Senior PGA Championship at storied Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

Couples told Champions Tour official on Monday that he was again suffering from an on-going back ailment and knowing he wouldn’t be fit for the season’s second over-50s major at Valhalla this week, he had also undergone treatment for skin cancer on both hands last week..

He told Golf World that the treatment for the removal of the lesions on his hands, a relatively harmless form of cancer unless neglected, had taken place during a routine visit to a new York doctor.

Couples voiced regret at missing one of the season’s second senior majors but said that on the bright side he was expecting to be able to play in the regular PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in two weeks’s time.

He has been replaced in the Valhalla field by Blain McCallister and brings to 46 the number of-Top 50 players in a powerful field that includes defending champion hot favourite Tom Lehman, this season’s most successful golfer on the Champions Tour.

Lehman has already added this year’s first senior major, the Regions Traditions, and has built up a massive lead (734 points) in the Charles Schwab Cup points race.

Others being seen as possible champions this week include Michael Allen, who won the Senior PGA Championship in his debut season in over 50s golf in 2009, Nick Price, who is currently second on the Charles Schwab points list and has been out of the top-7 twice in eight starts this year, John Cook, already a multiple winners in 2011 who is high-up in key stats like greens in regulation (77.19) and driving accuracy (81.58), and Kenny Perry who loves Valhalla where he lost a play-off for the US PGA title in 1996 and could not have chosen a better course as he chases his first senior major.