The Senior Open
The Senior Open Championship gets underway at Carnoustie tomorrow, and taking his place in the field, 35 years after lifting the Claret Jug on the Angus links, will be Tom Watson.
“I have some great memories here,” he said. “It’s funny how the memories are a little bit clearer 35 years ago than they are last week!”
Watson is in no doubt that the same game plan that earned him his first of five Open Championships will stand him in good stead this week as he attempts to win The Senior Open for the fourth time.
“My game-plan was to keep it out of the bunkers,” explained the 60-year-old, “and it still is the game-plan. Carnoustie rates maybe the highest in difficulty [of courses on The Open rota]. I’ve always enjoyed a difficult golf course, and testing – driving the ball between bunkers, I like that test a lot.”
It has been plain for all to see that his desire to compete at the highest level of the game, testing himself against the world’s leading players on the world’s best golf courses, has not diminished. And he will approach this week’s event with the same determination that he brought to Carnoustie in the summer of ’75.
“The love for the game and the love for competition – I play for the competition. I like to compete and beat people. That’s what I like do, he said. “It just so happens that I do it with sticks and balls, and I hope that I can do it again this week.”
Standing in Watson’s way is Loren Roberts, the 2009 Senior Open Champion, who will mount his title defence this week. Eight-time PGA Tour winner Roberts, 55, triumphed on Sunningdale’s Old Course last year after a play-off against Fred Funk and Mark McNulty. He comes to Carnoustie brimming with confidence having last month won the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open – Fred Funk finished runner-up, one stroke behind.
“The last month and a half or so I’ve been playing pretty good,” said Roberts. “The game is starting to round into shape a little bit and I’m hoping to make a good defence here.”
“The course is magnificent – it’s beautiful. I’ve never seen greens so green here. The fairways are perfect. The golf course couldn’t be in better shape…We haven’t played anything nearly as tough this year.”
Also due to tee-off tomorrow are Corey Pavin, the 2010 USA Ryder Cup Captain; Masters Tournament Champions Sandy Lyle, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam; and Mark Calcavecchia, who went out in the last group on the third day of the 150th Anniversary Open Championship at St Andrews.
Full scores and stories will appear on Opengolf.com throughout the event.