It is exactly a year to the day until Colin Montgomerie becomes eligible to join the European Senior Tour and the Scot admits that he has already targeted winning The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex in 2013.
Montgomerie celebrates his 49th birthday today, June 23, and after winning 31 European Tour titles and a record eight Orders of Merit, the victorious 2010 Ryder Cup Captain believes he can enjoy further success on the Senior Tour.
This year’s Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex will take place at Turnberry from July 26-29, and Montgomerie will be paying close attention ahead of making his debut in the Championship when it visits Royal Birkdale for the first time next year.
After finishing runner-up five times in Major Championships, Montgomerie is hoping he can finally make his Major breakthrough in Southport and join iconic names such as Gary Player, Bernhard Langer and Tom Watson on the Senior Open trophy.
“The Senior Open Championship will be my first event as a senior and I am looking forward to it,” he said. “I am going to play the Senior Open and then see how I feel about playing as a senior. I think if I can go there and get the good feelings back and the confidence of being able to win then I will play more of the events.
“It might be a year away but I know that it will come around quickly. It feels like only yesterday that I was really in my prime,, in the mid-1990s when I was winning a lot of events and really doing well. That does not seem that long ago so the next year will fly by and all of a sudden we will be at Birkdale for the Senior Open.
“I do think the Senior Tour is a great tour for players my age. How many sports give you the opportunity to become a rookie at the age of 50? That will be a nice feeling – to be one of the young ones and I hope that brings the confidence and belief that I can win the golf tournament.
“That is a feeling that has faded recently and it is something you really need if you want to compete at this level. I think it would be fair to say that when I was in my prime and winning tournaments and Orders of Merit that I had the feeling I was going to win every week.
“I think every sportsman playing at the highest level has to have an element of that because you have to. You have to believe that you are almost unbeatable because everyone else at that level thinks that way. I think that mindset is a real key element to winning and maintaining a level of performance that will keep you at the top.
“If I get that feeling back I will play more of the senior events. I will know as soon as I get there if the feeling is right, and I hope it is. I’d love to win a few of those big tournaments because they are great events and have so many great players playing.”
Discounted advance tickets for The 2012 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Turnberry can now be purchased online, with season passes now available at £60 and any one day tickets at £18 if booked before July 1. They can be booked online at www.europeantourtickets.com, where other discounts and offers can also be found.
Hospitality packages for each of the four Championship days in 2012 are available at £95 per person inc VAT, which includes admittance to the course along with a three-course lunch and glass of champagne in Turnberry’s signature restaurant, 1906, reserved parking, a Championship programme and a draw sheet.
American Russ Cochran won The 2011 Senior Open Championship at Walton Heath, holding off the challenge of former Open Champion Mark Calcavecchia, three-time Senior Open Champion Tom Watson and 2010 United States Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin.
Watson will be returning to Turnberry where he won The Open Championship in 1977, defeating Jack Nicklaus in the famous ‘Duel in the Sun’, and The Senior Open Championship in 2003, defeating Carl Mason in a play-off. He also came agonisingly close to winning the Claret Jug over the Ailsa Course in 2009 at the age of 59, losing in a play-off to compatriot Stewart Cink.