Wales will enjoy its strongest representation in the Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex next summer when the event returns to Royal Porthcawl from July 27—30.
The prospect of a ‘home victory’ has increased in recent months with first Stephen Dodd and then Phillip Price turning 50 and joining established Senior Tour stars Ian Woosnam – a new addition to the World Golf Hall of Fame - and Mark Mouland as genuine challengers for Europe’s Senior Major.
The arrival of newcomers Dodd and Price – who finished first and second respectively in the recent Senior Italian Open Presented by Villaverde Resort – adds further quality to a world class field which cements the event’s status as part of the ‘Wales: Year of Legends’ sporting programme alongside the UEFA Champions League Final and ICC Champions Trophy in Cardiff.
Those are mouth-watering sporting prospects, and golf fans can now purchase advance tickets for the 2017 Championship at considerable discounts before Christmas.
Any One Day adult tickets are available until December 25 for just £21.50 with Season Tickets, incorporating the Official Practice Day on Wednesday, July 26 and all four days of the Championship, available for £60. Practice Day tickets can be bought for £11.50. Hospitality packages for any of the four Championship days are also available.
Price, who marked his 50th birthday on October 21 by making his debut on the European Senior Tour, enjoyed a highly successful initiation by finishing runner-up in Italy behind another recent 50-year-old in Dodd, who followed up his second place in the Paris Legends Championship by claiming his first Senior Tour victory.
Now both men can take considerable confidence into the 2017 season, the highlight of which will be the second Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex to be staged over the classic Royal Porthcawl links, virtually on their own doorstep.
Price said: “I can’t wait to get to Royal Porthcawl for my first Senior Open. As a youngster, I played a lot of county matches there and can just about remember competing in the Boys Amateur Championship 32 years ago!
“It is a tremendous course and a bonus that it is only 35 minutes away from my home. I often go there during the winter as it tends to be drier and enjoy a game with fellow Tour pros such as Stuart Manley and Rhys Davies. We are always treated exceptionally well by the club and they are happy to accommodate us teeing off well ahead of the members. We appreciate that courtesy.”
He added: “Remarkably, I’ve never played a competitive stroke-play round at Porthcawl, so it will be nice to correct that during the Senior Open. I am looking forward to the atmosphere of playing such a prestigious event in front of my home fans and I really hope the public rally round and support a Major Championship by taking advantage of the fantastic ticket prices.”
Dodd, like Price, is a three-time champion on the European Tour, and his recent Senior success in Italy means he has triumphed on all three circuits under the Tour umbrella, having also won on the Challenge Tour.
The 50-year-old from Barry said: “I can stay at home as I live only 45 minutes away so it’s not too far to travel. I will definitely go down to Porthcawl and get a few rounds under my belt during the winter and I’ll hopefully be a bit more prepared than I was for my Senior Open debut at Carnoustie, given that I will have played there a bit more.
“It’s always nice to play in front of home support so I’ll look forward to that. Phil has also turned 50 recently so we should have some good home players for the fans to cheer next year.”
The 2014 Senior Open Championship was hailed as a huge success, with warm weather and large crowds providing a stunning backdrop for Bernhard Langer’s record-breaking 13-stroke victory over Colin Montgomerie.
Mouland, who finished tied 21st at Royal Porthcawl, commented: “It is a magnificent course and fully deserving of another opportunity to host our biggest tournament in Europe. The event had a great buzz last time and was well supported, but I hope the Welsh public really get behind it next July. We are a bit deprived of top class golf in the country at the moment and the Senior Open sits right up there next year alongside the Champions League final and the ICC Champions cricket.
“Woosie and I are old hands now on the Senior Tour but we are both still very competitive and we are looking forward to trying to win the Senior Open. I’ve been to Porthcawl with Phil (Price) and Stephen (Dodd) a number of times for a relaxing three-ball, so it’s great to see them out on Tour with us again as Senior players.”
England’s Paul Broadhurst will defend the title he won on his debut at Carnoustie in 2016.
Discounted tickets are available until December 25, and can be purchased here.