Defending Senior Open presented by Rolex champion Bernhard Langer is thrilled by the possibility of writing another piece of history as senior golf’s crown jewel heads to the Old Course at St Andrews for the first time from July 26-29.
Langer secured a record tenth Senior Major Championship last year at The Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl, joining golfing ‘royalty’ Gary Player and Tom Watson as a three-time winner of the Senior Claret Jug. Victory at St Andrews this year would see him become the first four-time winner in the Championship’s 32-year history.
“We’re all really excited to becoming back to St Andrews,” said the two-time Masters Tournament winner. “It’s a phenomenal golf course, and the possibility of winning my fourth Senior Open Championship there is a thrill.
“But, whatever the outcome may be, it’s just great to be there and playing on that fantastic golf course.”
Langer’s first experience of St Andrews in an Open Championship came in 1978 as a 21 year old, but it wasn’t until 1984 that he made his mark on the Old Course. It would be the first time he would finish inside the top three - a feat he would repeat five more times, which is unmatched by any non-winner of The Open.
“That Open Championship is probably the one that got away from me,” he said. “I felt like I had the game to win The Open. I got myself into contention many times, not just once or twice.
“St Andrews in 1984 was one of those times. I seem to remember that I out-played Seve [Ballesteros] tee-to-green, but he out-putted me.
“It was fun being part of that, but it wasn’t fun missing a lot of the putts I feel I could have made, or should have made. But that’s golf; there’s 14 different clubs and you have to be in command of all of them, not just 13.”
'The more I play it, the more I love it'
Despite naming the Old Course as one of his favourite venues, the victorious 2008 Ryder Cup Captain says it took some time to discover the charm of St Andrews.
“I must admit, when I first played the course I didn’t like it at all. But I was only 18 and I had never seen a lot of links golf before. I didn’t like the idea of standing on some of the tees, hitting over a sand dune and not really knowing what’s out there.
“Sometimes I thought I had hit a good tee shot and it ended up in one of the pot bunkers.
“The more I play it, the more I love it, because I can see what the architect had in mind. However great the course plays it is a challenge, whether the wind is right-to-left or left-to-right.”
Langer will defend the Senior Claret Jug against a field which will include a raft of Major Champions, former Ryder Cup Captains and players and European Tour winners including Tom Watson, Sir Nick Faldo, John Daly and Paul Broadhurst, the most recent Major champion, who won the KitchenAid Senior PGA title in Michigan last Sunday.
Under-16s and parking are free.
Tickets, starting at £13.50 per day, are available now on: st.golf/SeniorOpen18Tickets