Four of Britain and Ireland’s most successful Ryder Cup captains will bring their considerable talents and a wealth of experience to the Home of Golf this summer when they compete in the first Senior Open Presented by Rolex to be played over the Old Course, St Andrews.
Sam Torrance (2002), Ian Woosnam (2006), Colin Montgomerie (2010) and Paul McGinley (2014) all captained Europe to historic victories over the United States. Now that famous quartet will be reunited from July 26-29 at a venue revered the world over and one which holds many fond memories for this Ryder Cup foursome.
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, VisitScotland said “We are thrilled that four winning Ryder Cup captains in Sam Torrance, Ian Woosnam, Colin Montgomerie and Paul McGinley have all confirmed to play in The Senior Open presented by Rolex this summer. This is one of two major championships taking place this year in Scotland, the Home of Golf and it will undoubtedly be a highlight for players and fans making their way to the hallowed turf of St Andrews. The high calibre of this field underlines the stature of the event and highlights the appeal that playing in Scotland, the Home of Golf has for even the world’s top players.”
Torrance and Montgomerie both approach The Senior Open with winning form over the Old Course. In 1995, they joined forces with Andrew Coltart to steer Scotland to a solitary victory for the host nation in the history of the Alfred Dunhill Cup.
Montgomerie went on to enjoy an inspired spell on the Old Course exactly a decade later, when he finished runner-up to Tiger Woods in The Open three months before capturing the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship – the stroke-play successor to the Dunhill Cup - at the Home of Golf.
“The Senior Open is the highlight of my year’s golfing schedule by a mile,” declared Montgomerie, who has won three Senior Majors since turning 50 and, in common with the rest of the 144-strong field, would dearly love to add the Senior Claret Jug to his list of accomplishments.
“It’s marvellous that we are playing the Old Course, at long last. It’s great not just for senior golf, but for golf in general. The field this year will be exceptional. When I play in America, all the talk is about St Andrews and I can assure everybody there is no-one playing on the PGA Tour Champions who’s going to be left at home this time.”
He added: “Both my wins, representing Scotland in 1995 and individually 10 years later, are significant. Any win at St Andrews is a milestone and anybody who has walked over the Swilcan Bridge on their way to victory will remember it wholeheartedly. It will be a fantastic honour for whoever fills that role on Sunday, July 29.”
Torrance, who played in five Opens at St Andrews during an illustrious career which encompassed a record 702 starts on the European Tour, is equally enthusiastic about his Old Course return. He said: “I am thrilled that The Senior Open is finally coming to the Old Course. I just wish it had been 14 years ago when I turned 50!
“However, it has always been a privilege to play there. I loved the course the first time I set eyes on it. It’s iconic. Nowhere else can match that history and tradition and I have such fond memories of winning the Dunhill Cup as part of the Scotland team and, especially, partnering my son, Daniel, to win the Team Event in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2003.”
Woosnam, like Torrance, competed in The Open on five occasions at St Andrews, with his highest finish coming in 1990 when he was tied fourth behind Sir Nick Faldo.
The Welshman, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last year, commented: “There is a real sense of history at St Andrews that no other place can match. From the moment you arrive at The R&A Clubhouse, the Old Course has the ability to excite and inspire golfers from all over the world.
“I would love to be in contention for my first Senior Major this year, and it promises to be an outstanding event with so many great champions coming together for one week in July to help create more history on the famous Old Course.”
McGinley, at 51 the youngest of the quartet of captains, said: “It’s going to be a stellar field. The allure of St Andrews means that all the big names will be coming over from America and I can’t wait.
“My initial impression back in 1993 when I played in the Dunhill Cup is the same as it is now – it’s just the greatest place in the world to play golf. When you walk onto the tee, you sense the history, the atmosphere. It’s almost spiritual. Every time you tee up it feels special and it remains one of my favourite places to play golf.”
Bernhard Langer of Germany will defend his title in a world class field including two winners of The Open at the Old Course, in Sir Nick Faldo and John Daly.
Under-16s and parking are free.
Tickets, starting at £13.50 per day, are available now on: st.golf/SeniorOpen18Tickets