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Thursday, July 23, 2015

My "5 to Watch" at the Senior Open

Last week the "regular" Tour guys played their Open; next week the ladies follow suit. But this week it's the seniors' turn, and they'll be playing at the Sunningdale Old Course. Colin Montgomerie describes it as sort of a English Pine Valley, with tight fairways rather than wide links, and designed in 1901 by 3-time major champion Willie Park Jr. (He won the Open in 1887 and 1889, and the US Open in 1919.)

You can find a hole-by-hole description of the Old Course here. The photo is of the 14th hole; you can find more photos here.

Sunningdale Old Course 14th

Oh well, enough dreaming about gorgeous courses. Let's get down to the picks! Although I admit that this group sounds very familiar...
  • Bernhard Langer is the defending champion -- he won by a measly 13 strokes last year -- so I suppose he would have to make my list, wouldn't he? He already has one major this year; there's no reason to suppose he won't contend for this one.
  • Likewise with Colin Montgomerie. He too has a major this year, and he is very familiar with this course. I believe I heard him say he played the Walker Cup here in 1987 so he has a long relationship with this place.
  • I'd like to think I don't make the same mistake twice. I didn't pick Jeff Maggert at the last major... and he made it his second major this year. Okay, Jeff, you got my attention. You made my list this time -- you better perform!
  • I picked Kevin Sutherland last time and he had another good performance, even though he didn't win. He's been in one playoff (that Maggert won) and has been no worse than T13 in any major this year. Yeah, I gotta pick him again!
  • And for my flier I'm taking Jesper Parnevik. Jesper hasn't got much of a Champions Tour record for me to judge by, but why shouldn't the new kid strut his stuff a little? Did I mention how Jeff Maggert's been doing that this year...?
And there you have it. There are some other players I would like to pick -- Tom Watson and Fred Couples among them -- but I think these 5 are better choices. (Except for maybe Jesper, but did I mention how Jeff made me look like an idiot for not picking him at the last major simply because he was a new kid on tour...?)

The Senior Open won't be getting a lot of TV coverage. ESPN2 will be carrying about 2 hours of coverage each day starting at noon ET and that's it. If you want to watch, that's your chance.

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