The Old Course at St. Andrews will host the 2018 Senior Open Championship, as revealed by the R&A and European Tour in a joint announcement.
The Senior Open has never been played in St. Andrews.
Tom Watson, who thought he'd played his last competitive round at the Old Course this year, now gets another shot.
From the press release:
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, and European Tour CEO, Keith Pelley, welcomed the decision to bring the Senior Open to an iconic location with which many of the world’s greatest senior golfers have a strong affinity.
The announcement also received unanimous support from several golfing greats, including five-time Champion Golfer of the Year and three-time Senior Open winner, Tom Watson, of the United States, who was a prime instigator behind the event heading to St Andrews for the first time.
Although he never claimed the Claret Jug at The Home of Golf – famously finishing tied second behind Seve Ballesteros alongside another European legend in Bernhard Langer in 1984 – Watson spoke today of his desire to compete one last time over the famous links.
The 66-year-old made what he believed would be his final flourish on the Old Course during The Open last year, when he bade an emotional farewell to the Championship, which defined him as a golfer, on the Swilcan Bridge.
Watson is now set to return for one last hurrah, however, alongside a number of champions who can boast victories at St Andrews, including Sir Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and John Daly, who turns 50 this year and is set to make his Senior debut at Carnoustie this July.
Watson has completed all four rounds in every one of the 14 Senior Open Championships in which he has participated. In those 56 rounds he has recorded 20 scores in the sixties and twice carded rounds of 64 on his way to victory in 2003 and 2005, earning just under €1 million in prize money from that Championship alone.
He said: “I am thrilled at the news that the Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex will be staged over the Old Course for the first time in 2018. Only last July, I played what I believed would be my final competitive round of golf at The Open, and the reception I received as darkness fell on that Friday evening will stay with me always.
“However, The R&A, the European Tour and the St Andrews Links Trust have shown the spirit of cooperation that exists in the game. By agreeing to bring this wonderful Championship to the Home of Golf in July 2018, they have allowed not just me, but many other great champions, an opportunity to return to a venue that means so much to everyone who plays the game.”
Sir Nick Faldo, who captured the second of his three Open victories at St Andrews in 1990, also bade farewell to The Open on the same Friday as Watson in 2015 but he is already thinking about dusting down the clubs to compete in the Senior Open Presented by Rolex in 2 ½ years’ time.
The six-time Major Champion and Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “It is absolutely fantastic to see the Senior Open Championship going to St Andrews in 2018. This certainly gives me another golfing goal and I only hope my game is good enough to give it a go on the Old Course!
“It’s a great image, even now, to visualise so many legends of the game gathering again in that famous setting. As a golfer, and a golf fan, I will look forward to it enormously.”