Primer: The Senior Open at St Andrews

Bernhard Langer 2018 Senior Open at The Old Course in St Andrews
Bernhard Langer tees off on the 2nd during practice for the 2018 Senior Open at The Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland. Credit: Phil Inglis/Getty Images

The fifth and final major of the 2018 Champions Tour season is upon us, with the 32nd annual Senior Open Championship. For the first time in tournament history it will be contested at the iconic Old Course at St. Andrews.

John Daly 2018 Senior Open Old Course St Andrews
John Daly hits a shot on the 1st tee during Monday’s Rolex ProAm in advance of the 2018 Senior Open at The Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland. Credit: Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Nick Faldo (1990) and John Daly (1995) both won Claret Jugs at the Old Course, and they’ll be two of the seven former Open champions in the field, including five-timer Tom Watson who essentially won everywhere on the rota but The Old Course.

Other headliners include 10 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame and nine winners of The Senior Open, headlined by three-time champion Bernhard Langer.

It will be the tournament debut for Vijay Singh, who is coming off his first major win at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, while Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee will make his debut on the senior circuit after qualifying on Monday.


2018 SENIOR OPEN


THE SKINNY

Tournament: The Senior Open
Dates: July 26-29, 2018
Where: St Andrews, Scotland
Title Sponsor: Rolex
Course: Old Course, St. Andrews
Distance: Par 72 | 7,216 yards
Format: 72-holes, stroke play
Purse: $2,000,000
Winning Share: $333,330
Defending Champion: Bernhard Langer
Marquee Players: Nick Faldo, John Daly, Bernhard Langer, Tom Watson, Vijay Singh, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jerry Kelly, Scott McCarron, Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie, Tom Lehman, Mark Calcavecchia


TV AND ONLINE

Round 1: Thu 7-9:30 am (GOLF)
Round 2: Fri 7-9:30 am (GOLF)
Round 3: Sat 9:30 am-Noon (GOLF); Noon-2:00 pm (NBC)
Round 4: Sun 9:30 am-Noon (GOLF); Noon-2:00 pm (NBC)
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HISTORY

The first Senior Open was held 31 years ago in 1987 but didn’t officially become part of the European Senior Tour until 1992. Some 11 years later, in 2003, it was sanctioned as the fifth major championship on the U.S. Champions Tour.

Tom Watson Royal Porthcawl Golf Club Senior Open
Tom Watson tees off on hole 18 at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club during a practice round leading up to the 2017 Senior Open in Porthcawl, Wales. Credit: Phil Inglis/Getty Images

However, all champions prior to 2003 were not retroactively designated as major winners, a controversy that stands to this day.

The event is traditionally held the week following The Open Championship, but has never been played on the same course.

At Turnberry, Englishman Neil Coles was the inaugural winner, edging New Zealander Bob Charles by one stroke. It would be the first of a record six runner-up finishes for the lefty Charles, who also won twice (1989, 1993).

Other winners of the Senior Open include three-time winners Gary Player, Tom Watson, and Bernhard Langer. Fred Couples has won twice.

Only Player, Charles, and Watson have won both the Open and Senior Open championships.

RECENT WINNERS

2017: Bernhard Langer
2016: Paul Broadhurst
2015: Marco Dawson
2014: Bernhard Langer
2013: Mark Wiebe
2012: Fred Couples
2011: Russ Cochran
2010: Bernhard Langer


THE FIELD

Bernhard Langer will return to defend his title, with hopes of winning for a record fourth time. He will be joined by two former winners at the Old Course: Nick Faldo (’90) and John Daly (’95).

Bernhard Langer 2018 Senior Open at The Old Course in St Andrews
Bernhard Langer tees off on the 2nd during practice for the 2018 Senior Open at The Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland. Credit: Phil Inglis/Getty Images

Vijay Singh will be another headliner at St Andrews. The Fijian is one of three players with multiple wins on Tour this season (Steve Stricker and Paul Broadhurst are the others).

Singh won the Toshiba Classic, his first individual stroke play title on Tour, and he’s coming off his first senior major victory at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.

Two years removed from winning The Senior Open at Carnoustie, England’s Paul Broadhurst will return to St. Andrews with fond memories.

In 1990, Broadhurst carded a then-course record 63 in the third round en route to a T12 finish, his best in 16 starts at The Open.

This season on Champions Tour, he captured his second senior major title, carding weekend rounds of 64-63 to win the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. He also won the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge with partner Kirk Triplett, and he’s currently No. 6 in the Charles Schwab Cup.

Some other notable Europeans include Sandy Lyle (Scotland), Mark James (England), Jesper Parnevik (Sweden), Costantino Rocca (Italy), Colin Montgomerie (Scotland) Ian Woosnam (Wales), Paul McGinley (Ireland) and Jean Van De Velde (France).

Another top European is Miguel Angel Jimenez, who joins Jerry Kelly as the only players with top 10s in each of the first four majors this season.

Miguel Angel Jimenez 2018 Senior Open at The Old Course in St Andrews
Miguel Angel Jimenez tees off on the 3rd during practice for the 2018 Senior Open at The Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland. Credit: Phil Inglis/Getty Images

Winner of the Regions Tradition, Jimenez has a 68.25 scoring average in the four majors, the best among the 31 players that have played all 16 rounds. He has one win in each of his five seasons on Champions Tour – the second-longest active streak on Tour.

Kelly, meanwhile, starting with his T8 finish at the Regions Tradition, has recorded six consecutive top 10s.

The field also features top Americans Scott McCarron, Fred Couples, Tom Lehman, and Corey Pavin.

Field Highlights:

  • 27 of the top-30 players in the Charles Schwab Cup
  • 86 players that have made 205 total starts in Open Championships at St. Andrews
  • 10 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame
  • 10 Ryder Cup captains and 38 Ryder Cup players
  • 20 players with a PGA TOUR major victory and 23 players with a senior major victory

FULL FIELD & ODDS TO WIN THE SENIOR OPEN

The Old Course at St Andrews | St Andrews, Scotland | July 26-29, 2018

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