5 Players to Watch at Senior Open
This year's Senior Open is being hosted at the iconic Old Course at St Andrews, with a spectacular field gathering in Fife to compete for this major championship. Bernhard Langer is the defending champion - having secured the title for a third time 12 months ago at Royal Porthcawl - but he faces a formidable challenge from legendary names and many of the most successful players on the over-50s circuit.
Winning here is a rare and golden opportunity, a prospect that has drawn the best. Here are five of the most likely contenders.
It would be remiss to neglect including the defending champion. Winner at Carnoustie in 2010 and twice at Porthcawl (2014/2017), the 60-year-old German impressed with his performance during last week's Open, finishing in a tie for 24th. Winner of ten senior majors and 37 titles on the PGA Tour Champions, the twice Masters winner remains impressively consistent, and is still arguably the first name you look for on leaderboards, despite the influx of fresh talent including the likes of David Toms and Jerry Kelly.
Having come agonisingly close winning the Open Championship at St Andrews in 1984, Langer has some unfinished business at this venue, and a victory here would be another crowning chapter in a career that has been littered with achievement.
Miguel Angel Jimenez
The 54-year-old Spaniard finally claimed his first senior major at the Regions Tradtion earlier this year, but a victory in the Senior Open at the Old Course would be an even greater and more significant accolade, particularly after his disappointment in this event at Carnoustie in 2016.
Playing three times on the European Tour in 2018 - making the cut in each appearance - the past stalwart of the Ryder Cup has been a steady contender on the PGA Tour Champions, including a recent runner-up finish behind David Toms at the U.S. Senior Open.
The popular American - winner of this event at Turnberry in 2012 - has played a dramatically reduced schedule this year due to his chronic back issues, but despite that he produced another credible result in the Masters. For the 58-year-old, Augusta and the Senior Open at St Andrews were the two events that he was determined to compete in.
His affection for the Old Course is known, with his Open record being superb, recording finishes of T4th in 1984, T25th in 1990, 6th in 2000 and T3rd in 2005. He also was part of the winning US team at the Dunhill Cup in 1993. In his three appearances on the PGA Tour Champions this season, he has finished T6th, T3rd and T44th.
Couples is unquestionably in the autumn of his career, but the inspiration of this historic venue may just carry him far.
The likeable Englishman has flourished on the PGA Tour Champions. Winner of the Senior Open in 2016 just across the water at Carnoustie, the 52-year-old has since twice triumphed in the Senior PGA Championship in the United States, including his third major title back in May. The former Ryder Cup player shot a round of 63 during The Open of 1990 at St Andrews, a memory that is a huge part of his own love for St Andrews.
"I've been coming here for 40 years, first as a 13-year-old on holiday with my dad and golfing pals. We used to come and play St. Andrews and Carnoustie and some of the smaller courses, Crail. And we used to do that every week, I've been coming up here for a long time and it is, it's my favourite place to come, come and visit. I love the Old Course, but I love the town of St. Andrews and the atmosphere everything and about it. This is my No. 1 place. I'm really pleased The Senior Open is here this week."
Now 55, Montgomerie has won three senior majors, but none since 2015. Having won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2005, months after finishing second behind Tiger Woods here, he was a regular for Scotland in the old Dunhill Cups, including winning in 1995, the Ryder Cup legend has a rich personal history at St Andrews.
"I spent at least ten years at Dunhill Cups that we used to play, of course. Used to love that tournament. And knowing my way around this place, and knowing where not to go mainly and figuring it all out. At least now I can come here with some sort of confidence and knowing where to put the golf ball, because it's all a matter of angles and where you are and missing the bunkers. You need to have a bit of knowledge around here. It took me a long time to find out where and where not to go really."
Winning the Senior Open would be the ultimate at this stage of his career. Particularly at the Old Course.
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