Preparations are on course for Wales’ first Senior Major Championship, with Royal Porthcawl Golf Club set to welcome a cast of golfing legends, including Ryder Cup stars and Major winners, for The 2014 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex from 24-27 July.
In exactly 100 days, some of golf’s most iconic names, including Miguel Angel Jiménez, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Tom Watson and Wales’ own Ian Woosnam, will tee it up in the 28th Senior Open Championship, when Royal Porthcawl becomes the 12th different host venue.
The Championship is expected to have an economic impact of around £5million in Wales, with the majority benefitting the Bridgend area. It will also have the largest tented build in the Championship’s history, with a total footprint covering approximately 3000 square metres.
Despite the battering Royal Portchawl took from fierce storms over the winter, the course is shaping up to be in the best possible condition for the Championship, following considerable efforts made by the club’s staff.
Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said on behalf of the Championship: “We are all looking forward to bringing The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex to Royal Porthcawl for the first time this July.
“The staff at Royal Porthcawl have been working incredibly hard over the past three months to repair some of the storm damage, and the course will be in great condition to welcome some of the game’s top names.
“Our own team will be in Bridgend at the end of June to begin work on the biggest build in the history of the Championship. With ticket sales already strong, I’m certain that the Welsh golfing public will come out and support this magnificent Championship, with a world class field, and make it one to remember.”
Gordon Brand Jnr, who won the Coral Classic at Royal Porthcawl in 1982, Welshman Mark Mouland and Senior Tour rookie Ronan Rafferty, the European Number One in 1989, visited the venue today for a Sponsors’ and Media Day.
Mouland is looking forward to his country hosting a Senior Major for the first time, at a venue he knows well. ,
“Royal Porthcawl is one of the best links courses in Wales so it is great that the Senior Open is coming to it,” he said. “I grew up about 35 minutes away and used to come here a lot.
“When the wind blows it is a great challenge, so it will be interesting to see what happens. Over the years Wales has had some great golfers and I think this Championship is another stepping stone to inspiring another generation.”
Former Ryder Cup player Brand Jnr is looking forward to returning to a venue which 32 years ago provided him with his first of eight European Tour wins.
“I’ve some major fond memories of this place,” he said. “I was very fortunate to win here. It was a big moment for me and set me up.
“I live in Bristol so it was just across the bridge for me and it was probably the only time my mum and dad watched me win. I’m really excited about coming back here and I can’t wait to play a Senior Open here.”
Rafferty added: “Things changed in my life when I turned 50 and now I’m back playing tournament golf, so I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’m a bit of an aficionado of links courses and this is one of the finest in the country. It will be a thrill to play The Senior Open here.
“Looking at the names playing in the Senior Open, it will be fantastic. This Championship has evolved into a superb event with so many legends of the game. Wales should be very proud at hosting such a great Championship.”
American Mark Wiebe won The 2013 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Royal Birkdale, defeating two-time Masters Champion Langer in a play-off.
Tickets for The 2014 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex can be bought online via www.senioropengolf.com or by calling +44 (0)800 0232557, with details of hospitality packages also available.
Royal Porthcawl Golf Club www.royalporthcawl.com
European Tour www.europeantour.com