The Senior Open Championship will return to the spectacular setting of Turnberry on the Ayrshire coastline from July 26-29, 2012, continuing the Scottish resort’s rich history with the prestigious Championship which began with the inaugural staging in 1987.
It will be the seventh occasion that Turnberry’s Ailsa Course has hosted The Senior Open Championship, the most of any venue on the roster, surpassing the six editions played at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.
The classic links hosted the first four Senior Open Championships, with Neil Coles wining the inaugural Championship in 1987, Gary Player capturing the title in 1988 and 1990 and Bob Charles lifting the trophy in 1989.
Tom Watson, whose own career is so closely aligned with Turnberry’s proud heritage, then held off the European Senior Tour’s leading career money winner Carl Mason in a play-off when the Championship returned to the Ayrshire Coast in 2003, before fellow American Loren Roberts captured his first Senior Open title in 2006.
Turnberry has also hosted The Open Championship on four occasions with Watson featuring prominently in 1977, when he memorably defeated Jack Nicklaus in what became known as ‘The Duel in the Sun’, and in 2009 when he lost in a play-off to Stewart Cink at the age of 59.
David Hill, Director of Championships for The R&A, said on behalf of the Championship: “We are delighted to announce the return of The Senior Open Championship to Turnberry in 2012, a venue that is steeped in the history of both The Senior Open and The Open.
“The Ailsa Course has provided some of golf’s most memorable moments over the years and hopefully we will once again experience the magnificent support of the Scottish golf fans, just as we did the last time The Senior Open Championship visited the Ayrshire coast in 2008 when we had record crowds at Royal Troon.”
Stewart Selbie, General Manager of Turnberry, said: “Turnberry is delighted to welcome The Senior Open Championship back to the Ailsa course in 2012. Following the success of The 2009 Open, it is entirely fitting that our next Major should be the Senior Open, a tournament which has such a strong connection with the Ailsa course over the years. This announcement confirms Turnberry’s position as a great venue for major Open Championships”
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “Turnberry is an iconic golf location and I am thrilled The Senior Open Championship is returning to South Ayrshire next year. We are, of course, the birthplace and home of Open Golf and we are also well-known for hosting major international events, so it’s going to be a fabulous sporting occasion.
“I look forward to welcoming players, staff, fans, family and friends to South Ayrshire for this wonderful event and will ensure a great time is had by all here on Scotland’s very own golf coast.”
EventScotland, the national events agency, has supported the staging of The Senior Open Championship since 2005 and the 2012 event will be the marquee event on Scotland’s golfing calendar that year.
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “The Senior Open Championship is one of Scotland’s most prestigious regular golf tournaments. We are delighted to see it return next year with significant benefits for Turnberry, South Ayrshire and the wider ‘Home of Golf’ expected. It is important for Scotland to maintain its support of these major events as we prepare to host The Ryder Cup in 2014 and to ensure the ongoing development of the sport on our shores.”
The Senior Open last visited Scotland in 2010 when Carnoustie hosted the Championship for the first time. Germany’s Bernhard Langer claimed his first Senior Major Championship and will defend the title from July 21-24 when Walton Heath Golf Club, in Surrey, England, is the host venue for the Championship’s 25th edition.
Discounted advance tickets can be purchased online, with season tickets now available at £60 for a season pass and any one day passes at £16.50. They can be booked online at www.europeantourtickets.com , where other discounts and offers can also be found.