As part of an ongoing series of announcements on major golf events for Scotland - including the Curtis Cup - the latest news sees the British Seniors head for THe Old Course at St. Andrews in 2018. It's probably been a surprise to many that the Seniors' open has actually never been played at the Home of Golf before but this is probably due to the calendar of events that are already in place.
It's some time away (July 26-29, 2018) and proabably a little early to start making travel plans but of course their will be a SIGTOA member who can help you even now!
The announcement, which was made jointly by The R&A and the European Tour at The Home of Golf, completes the full set of Major Championships to be held over the Old Course.
The 144th Open in 2015 was the 29th occasion on which the Championship has been played at St Andrews. The Ricoh British Women’s Open has been played there on two occasions and the Old Course will now become the 13th venue to accommodate the Senior Open Championship, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary with a return to another famous Scottish venue at Carnoustie.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, and European Tour CEO, Keith Pelley, welcomed the decision to bring the Senior Open to an iconic location with which many of the world’s greatest senior golfers have a strong affinity.
The announcement also received unanimous support from several golfing greats, including five-time Champion Golfer of the Year and three-time Senior Open winner, Tom Watson, of the United States, who was a prime instigator behind the event heading to St Andrews for the first time.
Although he never claimed the Claret Jug at The Home of Golf – famously finishing tied second behind Seve Ballesteros alongside another European legend in Bernhard Langer in 1984 – Watson spoke of his desire to compete one last time over the famous links.
The 66-year-old made what he believed would be his final flourish on the Old Course during The Open last year, when he bade an emotional farewell to the Championship, which defined him as a golfer, on the Swilcan Bridge.
Watson is now set to return for one last hurrah, however, alongside a number of champions who can boast victories at St Andrews, including Sir Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and John Daly, who turns 50 this year and is set to make his Senior debut at Carnoustie this July.
He said: “I am thrilled at the news that the Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex will be staged over the Old Course for the first time in 2018. Only last July, I played what I believed would be my final competitive round of golf at The Open, and the reception I received as darkness fell on that Friday evening will stay with me always.
“However, The R&A, the European Tour and the St Andrews Links Trust have shown the spirit of cooperation that exists in the game. By agreeing to bring this wonderful Championship to the Home of Golf in July 2018, they have allowed not just me, but many other great champions, an opportunity to return to a venue that means so much to everyone who plays the game.”
Sir Nick Faldo, who captured the second of his three Open victories at St Andrews in 1990, also bade farewell to The Open on the same Friday as Watson in 2015 but he is already thinking about dusting down the clubs to compete in the Senior Open Presented by Rolex in 2 ½ years’ time.
The six-time Major Champion and Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “It is absolutely fantastic to see the Senior Open Championship going to St Andrews in 2018. This certainly gives me another golfing goal and I only hope my game is good enough to give it a go on the Old Course!"
Montgomerie was part of the three-man Scotland team who claimed the Dunhill Cup in 1995. Exactly a decade later the three-time Senior Major Champion finished a credible runner-up behind Tiger Woods in The Open over the Old Course, before going one better in that year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
He commented: “This is great news and will surely deliver the best field ever assembled for the Senior Open Championship. All credit to the powers that be to get the Senior Open at St Andrews for the first time. Even now, more than two years out, I am excited about the prospect. It’s a real coup for The R&A, the European Senior Tour, St Andrews Links Trust, Rolex and everyone associated with the event to get us playing senior golf at St Andrews.
“It will be great to see Tom Watson back, at the age of 68, where we thought he would play in a major for the last time in 2015. However, there will be a lot of other players, like Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer for instance, who will be excited by the prospect. It will be a real celebration of over-50s golf.”
For more information on watching golf in Scotland contact any of the members of SIGTOA through the website.