Tom Watson eyes historic Birkdale win
Tom Watson will be aiming for a unique treble when he returns to Royal Birkdale for this year’s Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, 30 years after winning The Open at the Merseyside venue.
Watson is bidding to win a third Senior Open title on a course where he previously won a Claret Jug, having already completed the ‘Open-Senior Open double’ at both Turnberry and Muirfield.
The 63 year old American won the last of his five Open Championships at Royal Birkdale in 1983, finishing one shot clear of compatriots Hale Irwin and Andy Bean.
He now has the chance to replicate that famous victory when The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex visits the venue for the first time, from July 25-28.
“I have great memories of my win at Birkdale and I will certainly relive those memories when I get back there for The Senior Open this summer,” he said.
“That’s the fun thing about being my age – I get to relive some of the successes that I have had, and Royal Birkdale is one of my favourite courses.
“I may not be able to do it again, although it is certainly my intention to go back to Birkdale and try to do it again.
“Winning at another course I’ve won The Open at would be nice, wouldn’t it? But I don’t look at it that way. I try to take them one tournament at a time. I just hope my game is in a good shape and it gives me the confidence to perform well and possibly win the golf tournament. It’s always great to go back to somewhere you have previously won, but all I’m looking for is to be in good shape when I get there.”
Watson currently shares the record for the most Senior Open Championship victories with South African Gary Player, both players having won the prestigious title three times.
Watson’s Senior Open triumphs came at Turnberry in 2003, where he had memorably won The Open in 1977, at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in 2005, and two years later at Muirfield, scene of his Claret Jug victory in 1980.
New Zealander Bob Charles is the only other player to have achieved the Open-Senior Open double at the same venue, returning to Royal Lytham & St Annes to win The Senior Open in 1993, 30 years after he lifted the Claret Jug.
Thirty years on from his Open Championship win at Royal Birkdale, Watson will hope history repeats itself just a few miles down England’s west coast, when he also becomes only the second presiding United States Ryder Cup Captain to play in The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, following Corey Pavin who finished