Wednesday, 21 July 2010

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Ian Woosnam is hoping to continue his impressive record at Carnoustie when this week’s Senior Open Championship presented by Mastercard begins in Scotland.

The Welshman claimed the 1996 Scottish Open over the Championship Course in difficult conditions – and the weather forecast suggests he might be left battling the elements as well as the rest of the field once more.

“The course is fantastic, I haven't seen it in better condition I think,” said the former Masters Tournament winner.

“It's really nicely set up - the rough's not too penalising. But you've got to play very well, and as in any big championship, it all depends on the weather, doesn't it? And a bit of a luck of the draw, sometimes.

“I think the forecast is going to clear up tomorrow afternoon I think - so just got to grin and bear it a little bit. 

“Everybody else is going to be in the same situation. Guys who are swinging well will come out on top in weather like this.”

Woosnam became the first player to win both the Senior Tour and European Tour Order of Merit in 2008, and although clearly enjoying life among the over 50s, the former Ryder Cup Captain admits remaining competitive has its drawbacks.

“The transition from The European Tour to the Seniors, I still played a few tournaments, but it's difficult,” he continued.

“If you take a bit of time off, it's difficult to come back into competitive golf really. I think I play my best when I'm playing a lot. Sometimes the body won't let me do that - just have to grin and bear it sometimes.”

And Woosnam does not rule out the possibility of one of the Senior Tour contingent landing a Major against their younger counterparts at some stage, especially after Tom Watson and Greg Norman came so close in The Open Championship in 2008 and 2009.

But he does not expect it to happen at the scene of his greatest triumph – Augusta National.

“I think if it's a really extremely difficult course, especially a sea links golf course, because you don't have to be super long,” he added.

“The ball runs, the fairways are running and half the time you have to hit irons and it's about positional play, maybe something like a US Open, as well where it's not too long and you have to get in the fairway, basically. 

“The Masters is still long, I can't see a senior winning around there, but I can see a senior winning around The Open Championship quite easily.

“A lot of these guys are coming through now, [Miguel Angel] Jiménez is, what, 46, and has still got a nice little game.”

Defending champion this week is Loren Roberts, and the American also expects to be a bit tougher than when he won at Sunningdale 12 months ago.

“Last year, Sunningdale was a great golf course, probably the most beautiful bunkering I've seen on a golf course, a Heath land golf course, totally different style,” he said.

“This year, I'm not surprised we are playing a different style of golf course, and a tougher golf course, I really am not.

“You've got more guys coming out here that are stronger players. I'm just going to throw a name out for you, Barry Lane. Now, you know he's just turned 50, but he still is active on the regular Tour in Europe. You have guys, Mark Calcavecchia, guys that still hit the ball out there and can play with the young guys.

“So I'm not surprised at all that they are playing this golf course with a little more length, and I would expect to probably see that over the next few years.”

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T3FUNK, FredUSA18-1
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