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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My "5 to Watch" at the Senior Open

The links fun continues this week. The LPGA stages their first Scottish Open while the Champions Tour heads back to Royal Porthcawl for the Senior Open Championship.

Bernhard Langer at 2014 Open, Royal Porthcawl

Royal Porthcawl is in South Wales, and the defending champion is Paul Broadhurst. He was a bit of a surprise winner last year, but that's part of the beauty of an Open.

It's time to pick my traditional "5 to Watch" at this event. But since Bernhard lost a three-shot lead at the last major -- the one he had won three times in a row -- and since Fred Couples has been fighting back problems again, it's hard to believe there's truly a chalk pick this time. But I shall soldier on and see what I can do...
  • Despite his loss, Bernhard Langer remains a favorite for me. Even the Ultimate Driving Machine's got to have a bad week now and then! As shown in the photo above, Bernhard took the trophy last time they played Royal Porthcawl. In addition, he has a win and two runner-ups in three of the last four Opens. You have to figure he'll be a factor, at least.
  • I almost picked Scott McCarron in the last major, but decided against it. Bad choice on my part. McCarron is playing well as of late, and he derailed Langer's fourpeat attempt. In addition, he was runner-up to Broadhurst last year. Have to give him props this time.
  • Colin Montgomerie hasn't been in the best of form this year; nevertheless he's second in Schwab Cup points and he had a T6 at the Constellation. He was also runner-up to Langer in 2014.
  • This will seem a bit out of left field, but Stephen Ames has Top10'ed in seven of his 12 events this season, and is coming off a string of four straight, including the last two majors.
  • And my flier is... Tom Watson. I don't care that he's 67, he has a good record at Opens. Even if he hasn't won since 2007.
I think we'll probably get another surprise winner this year, but I'm going to take McCarron this week. Langer's record this year is better, but I think he's in a bit of a low point right now while McCarron is on a run -- two wins and two runner-ups this year in 14 events, plus he finally got his first major.

The Senior Open doesn't get the TV coverage of other events -- at least, not here in the US. GC and NBC have what coverage you'll find. Here's the best list I could find:

Jul 27, Thu   
  • GOLF 7:00 - 9:30 AM ET
  • GOLF 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM ET
Jul 28, Fri   
  • GOLF 1:00 - 5:00 AM ET
  • GOLF 7:00 - 9:30 AM ET
  • GOLF 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM ET
Jul 29, Sat   
  • GOLF 1:00 - 6:00 AM ET
  • GOLF 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM ET
  • NBC 12:00 - 2:00 PM ET
  • GOLF 10:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET
Jul 30, Sun   
  • GOLF 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM ET
  • NBC 12:00 - 2:00 PM ET
  • GOLF 10:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET
Jul 31, Mon   
  • GOLF 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM ET
Hopefully that will help. This is an important event for the Champions Tour so it's important to be able to find it!

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